Moderate to severe rashes

How can we help?


In partnership with the NHS logo

Rashes can differ in size, appearance and texture. Some can be itchy and sore, others dry, cracked or blistered. There are a number of causes of rashes such as allergies, disease or a reaction to a certain product like hair dye or poisonous plants. Generally, they can be divided into two categories: infectious and non-infectious.

Non- infectious rashes such as eczema, psoriasis and allergic dermatitis can be treated with corticosteroid creams and/or pills. They can be very itchy and sore and cause a person a great deal of discomfort and anxiety. Infectious rashes such as ringworm and chickenpox are considered more severe forms of rashes, which need to be treated targeting the underlying cause often triggered by bacteria, fungi or viruses.

As itchy as a rash may feel, avoid scratching the affected area. Keep it cool by placing a cold wet cloth around it and washing it with pure cold water, avoiding any soap containing products. You can try and pat the area if you feel the urge to scratch it. Vaseline can help alleviate discomfort or a moisturizing lotion such as Cetaphil, both of which can be purchased over the counter. If the itching becomes extremely uncomfortable, you can purchase antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin) over the counter (follow instructions on the label).

Although not generally considered life threatening, it is important to avoid delaying seeking medical attention if you suspect a rash is serious. You should see your GP if you notice the rash is getting worse, spreading across different parts of your body or you’re developing new blisters. A rash covering the body could indicate a potential infection or if it spreads rapidly, could signal an allergy towards something you have come into contact with. See your GP if you are not getting better after a week and especially if you are beginning to feel unwell.