What is an itchy rash?

An itchy rash is an inflammatory reaction of the skin. An itchy rash is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions.

Itchy rashes differ in severity, frequency and duration depending on the underlying cause. Itchy rashes can appear as blotchy or tiny spots or occur in a large, solid continuous area. In some cases, an itchy rash may include scaling or flaking of skin cells, and blisters that can ooze clear-colored fluid.

An itchy rash can indicate a relatively mild and easily treated condition, such as irritant contact dermatitis or ringworm (a fungal infection of the skin). An itchy rash can also result from viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and insect bites. Persistent scratching can worsen itchy rash symptoms and leave the affected skin susceptible to contamination and infection.

An itchy rash or hives accompanied by difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue or face may be due to a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms. Seek prompt medical care if you do not have life-threatening symptoms but your rash is not improving or interferes with your daily life.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with an itchy rash?

An itchy rash can occur by itself or with other symptoms that affect the skin and possibly other areas of the body. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, you may have flu-like symptoms if the itchy rash is due to infection or inflammation. Read more about itchy rashsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes an itchy rash?

Itchy rashes can be caused by a wide variety of diseases and conditions, such as infection, inflammation, allergic reaction, parasite and insect bites, and autoimmune processes. For example, a small localized itchy rash may be caused by contact dermatitis due to contact with an irritant or allergen.  A generalized itchy rash that covers large parts of the body may be due to a viral infecti... Read more about itchy rashcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.