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New Itchy Skin Rashes in Adults

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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Allergic Contact Dermatitis Allergic contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction (the reaction to the allergen occurs 48–72 hours after exposure). The most common allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis…
Irritant Contact Dermatitis Irritant contact dermatitis is an inflammatory rash caused by direct chemical injury to the skin. Unlike allergic contact dermatitis, which appears 48–72 hours after exposure to an allergen, the symptoms…
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac dermatides are a reaction to the rhus antigen, which is found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants.
Drug Eruption, Unclassified A drug rash (drug eruption), also known as a drug reaction, is a skin condition caused by a medication. A drug rash can appear in many forms, and any medication can cause a drug rash.
Pityriasis Rosea Pityriasis rosea (PR) is a common non-cancerous (benign) rash that mostly affects the back, chest, and abdomen. It starts fairly quickly, lasts about 6–8 weeks, and is usually not itchy.
Scabies Scabies is an infestation of the skin caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. Scabies is very contagious and spreads rapidly in crowded areas such as hospitals, nursing…
Viral Exanthem Viral exanthem, also known as non-specific viral rash, is a rash caused by a viral infection. Many viruses can cause a similar-appearing rash, so it is difficult to tell which one is the culprit. Your age, duration of…
Hives (Urticaria) Hives (urticaria), also known as welts, is a common skin condition with an itchy rash of pink to red bumps that appear and disappear anywhere on the body. An individual lesion of hives typically lasts a few hours…
Shingles (Zoster) Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains sleeping…