Common Rash Causes
Rashes are often diagnosed by likelihood. Most doctors know the common causes of a rash, but diagnosis by probability alone can lead to misdiagnosis. Experts rely on precisely observing and describing the rash morphology (shape, color, size, etc) and localization. For example, plaques with white scale at the elbows suggest psoriasis. Small pustules centered on hair follicles suggest folliculitis. Sometimes the patient history is critical, such as when a new medication precedes the rash (suggesting a drug eruption), or when other family members are itching with a rash (possibly suggesting scabies). Every medical student should learn the common causes of rashes and understand how to diagnose and treat them.
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