Serious Rashes Every Student and Clinician Should Know

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10 Serious Rash Causes Every Medical Student Should Know

Rashes associated with fever, malaise, medication use, or systemic symptoms can represent a serious medical problem.  When a patient presents with fever and a rash, take a detailed history including exposures, travel or immigration history, past medical history and medication use, and consider infectious and immunologic causes. It is critical to identify purpura (hemorrhage into the skin), which can be a sign of infection, vasculitis, or a platelet disorder. Examine the oral and eyelid mucosa as well as the nail beds. Be thorough, and order appropriate laboratory testing and perform a skin biopsy if necessary.
Click a topic below for pictures and information. Students should review VisualDx for multiple images and a summary of each disease or condition.

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Acute meningococcemia
Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Toxic epidermal necrolysis
Toxic shock syndrome
Zoster (shingles)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
Disseminated intravascular coagulation
Necrotizing fascitis