Skip to main content

Acute Rash

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

A rash is irritated, red, or itchy skin or mucus membranes, such as the lining of your nose or throat. Acute means the rash starts suddenly, worsens quickly, and lasts a short time. Common causes include a disease or infection, a reaction to something you are allergic to, or certain medicines.


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.

Call your doctor or dermatologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • 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 or concerns about your condition or care.


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

  • Antihistamines may be given to help decrease itching.
  • Steroids may be given to decrease inflammation.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Prevent a rash or care for your skin when you have a rash:

Dry skin can lead to more problems. Do not scratch your skin if it itches. You may cause a skin infection by scratching. The following may prevent dry skin, and help your skin look better:

  • Help soothe your rash. Apply thick cream lotions or petroleum jelly. Cool compresses may also soothe your skin. Apply a cool compress or a cool, wet towel, and then cover it with a dry towel.
  • 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 made of cotton instead of nylon or wool. Cotton is softer, so it will not hurt your skin as much.

Follow up with your healthcare providers as directed:

A dermatologist may help find the cause of your rash or help plan or change treatment. A dietitian may help with meal planning if you have a food allergy. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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.

Learn more about Acute Rash

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.