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Acute Rash


An acute rash starts suddenly, worsens quickly, and lasts a short time. A rash can be a sign of injury, illness, or allergic reaction.



If your rash does not go away on its own, you may need the following medicines:

  • Antihistamines: This medicine may be given to help decrease itching.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Skin soothers:

Thick cream lotions or petroleum jelly may help soothe your rash. Cool compresses may also be used to soothe your skin. Apply a cool compress or a cool, wet towel, and then cover it with a dry towel.


  • Use a thicker cream lotion or petroleum jelly on areas with thick skin, such as your feet.

  • Use lukewarm water when you bathe. Hot water may damage your skin more. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub your skin with a towel.

  • Use detergents, soaps, shampoos, and bubble baths made for sensitive skin. Wear clothes that are made of cotton rather than nylon or wool. Cotton is softer, so it will not hurt your skin as much.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You get open wounds from scratching your skin, or you have a wound that is red, swollen, or painful.

  • Your rash lasts longer than 3 months.

  • You have swelling or pain in your joints.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing or chest pain.

  • You are vomiting, have a headache or muscle aches, and your throat hurts.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.