There are many types of skin rashes. A rash is an outbreak of many red bumps or patches on the body. Many conditions can cause an itchy rash. In adults, several types of skin inflammation, various allergic reactions (contact dermatitis), and sometimes infection with a mite or virus can be the cause of a new rash on the skin. Determining that the skin change is recent (generally happening for the first time and lasting less than 1-2 weeks) helps to narrow the possible causes for the rash. The location on the body and the extent of the rash can also help determine a cause. Limited areas of involvement may indicate shingles (zoster), a poison ivy rash or other allergic and irritant contact dermatides, while widespread distribution is typical of drug reactions, hives (urticaria), viral infections, and scabies.
Most skin rashes are not dangerous to others unless they are caused by an infectious disease, such as shingles or scabies. Many rashes go away on their own after some time has passed. It is often reasonable to watch a slightly itchy rash for a few days to see whether the condition gets a little better and goes away on its own.
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