RASHES, WIDESPREAD AND CAUSE UNKNOWN
most of the body (widespread or generalized)
Occasionally just on hands, feet, and buttocks - but symmetrical
Small spots, large spots, or solid red
Cause of rash is unknown
rashes that individuals may be able to recognize are: hives, insect bites, and
sunburn. If present, use that topic. If not, use this topic.
An adult with fever and rash should seek medical attention immediately.
A number of serious infections present in this manner.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR RASHES
WIDESPREAD AND CAUSE UNKNOWN
Call 911 Now (you may need an ambulance) If:
- Very weak
- Purple or blood-colored rash with fever
- Sudden onset of rash (within past 2 hours) and also has difficulty
with breathing or swallowing
- Difficult to awaken or acting confused
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If:
- You feel
weak or very sick
- Purple or blood-colored rash without fever
- Bright red skin that peels off in sheets
- Bright red, sunburn-like rash after either wound infection,
recent surgery, or tampon use
- Rash looks like large or small blisters (i.e. fluid-filled bubbles
or sacs on the skin)
- Rash beginning within 4 hours of a new prescription medication
- Stiff neck (unable to touch chin to chest)
- Joint pain or swelling
- Sores also present in mouth
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am
and 4 pm) If:
- A widespread
rash, but none of the symptoms described above
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR WIDESPREAD
RASHES (pending talking with your doctor)
There are many causes of widespread rashes and most of the time they are not
serious. Common causes include viral illness (e.g. cold viruses) and allergic
reactions (to a food, medicine, or environmental exposure).
For Non-Itchy Rashes: No treatment is necessary, except for heat rashes,
which respond to cool baths.
For Itchy Rashes: Wash the skin once with soap to remove any irritants.
Use Benadryl or take an Aveeno bath to reduce the itching.
Benadryl for Itching: Take an antihistamine (e.g. diphendryamine/Benadryl)
for widespread rashes that itch. The adult dosage of Benadryl is 25-50 mg by
mouth 4 times daily.
- Do not take antihistamine medications such as Benadryl if you
have prostate enlargement.
- Antihistamines may cause sleepiness. Do not drink, drive or
operate dangerous machinery while taking antihistamines.
- Read the package instructions thoroughly on all medications
that you take.
Oatmeal Aveeno Bath for Itching: Sprinkle contents of one Aveeno packet
under running faucet with comfortably warm water. Bathe for 15 - 20 minutes,
1-2 times daily. Pat dry with a towel - do not rub.
Contagiousness: Avoid contact with pregnant women until a diagnosis
is made. Most viral rashes are contagious (especially if a fever is present).
Your can return to work or school after the rash is gone or when your doctor
says it's safe to return with the rash.
Expected Course: Most viral rashes disappear within 48 hours.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- You become worse or develop any of the "Call Your Doctor"
This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical
advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full
responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Adult HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
David Thompson, M.D. FACEP
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