ZOOM+Care DIY Health Articles

Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Rashes

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Symptoms of a Rash

Rashes are when your skin changes its color or texture, such as becoming red, bumpy, and scaly. A rash is a visible indication that your skin is having a problem. You may break out in a rash if you’re having an allergic reaction to a food, plant, or chemical.

Causes of a Rash

There are dozens of rashes and countless causes, so we’ve narrowed this article down to the most-common rashes seen at ZOOM+Care.

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Food allergies
  • Heat rashes
  • Poison oak

Contact Dermatitis

Many people are allergic to one or more substances, and their allergies may cause minor to moderate rashes. Contact dermatitis is common. Your rash can include redness, bumps, warm skin, inflammation, and so on.

Food Allergies

Rashes caused by food allergies can be very mild, or much more dangerous: anaphylaxis, which is a serious type of allergic reaction, can lead to shock or even death. Severe food allergies cause hives, a swollen tongue, closed airways, and more. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you’re experiencing a severe food allergy.

Heat Rashes

Commonly called a heat rash, these types of rashes aren’t always caused by an allergic reaction. While some people are allergic to the sun, a heat rash appears if perspiration is trapped under your skin by clogged pores. This isn’t an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis, but rather an indication that your sweat isn’t properly escaping your body.

Poison Oak

The outdoorsy lifestyle of many Pacific Northwesterners means ZOOM+Care sees its share of poison oak cases. If you’re allergic to the oil produced by the plant, your body will react accordingly and break out in a rash.

Should I Be Worried?

Seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing anaphylactic shock.

While rashes are common, you should also see a doctor immediately if you’re experiencing one of these severe allergic reactions in addition to a rash:

  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Otherwise, minor rashes and symptoms caused by allergens can be managed with non-prescription antihistamines. Talk to a ZOOM+Care Doctor to create an allergen management plan.

Schedule a rash visit online or from our iOS app today.

Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

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Rash Prevention Tips

Consider these tips to help prevent a rash:

  • Allergy testing. Not everyone needs to be tested for allergies, but it’s worth considering if you have frequent, recurring, or severe rashes. A test can help determine if your rashes are caused by environmental factors.
  • Rinse and repeat. In certain cases you can wash off pollens and allergens before they cause a rash. The same goes for heat rashes caused by clogged pores: a good scrubbing to exfoliate your skin might prevent that itch.
  • Keep cool. Likewise, if it’s summertime you might want to avoid sweating (as much as is possible). Sweat can clog your pores which can in turn create a heat rash.