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How to Know If Your Rash Needs Medical Attention Right Away

The majority of people will develop a skin rash at some point in their lives. When you see a rash, you automatically know it is nothing to be concerned about, even though it may be uncomfortable and bothersome.

But there may be situations when you develop a rash and question whether it’s something dangerous that requires medical attention immediately. 

As to when you must get medical attention for a rash, there are no hard-and-fast guidelines. If you feel anything is strange or off, you should usually just go with your instinct.

The warning signals that a skin rash can be dangerous and need prompt medical intervention are listed below.

Rash Covers Your Entire Body

A body-wide rash is always a cause for alarm. Allergies to drugs frequently result in a widespread rash. However, it can also happen in cases of exanthems or Lyme disease.

Immuno-deficient individuals (those without immunological defenses) may also experience a widespread rash when others may only experience a localized rash. An illustration is the spread of shingles in persons with an advanced HIV infection.

You’re Feverish

The body elevates its temperature during an illness to destroy an invading pathogen, which is frequently indicated by a fever. 

The presence of a rash in conjunction with fever suggests an infectious etiology, but it could also be the result of a severe allergic reaction. It is crucial to have it checked out right away in either situation.

The Rash Hurts a Lot

A rash can be both itchy and uncomfortable, but there is a distinction between the two. Painful rashes should be investigated immediately since they could indicate an infection like shingles or genital herpes, which is potentially dangerous but treatable.

You Have Breathing Issues

The hallmark signs of anaphylaxis are a rapid rash or hive outbreak and shortness of breath. A whole-body allergy called anaphylaxis, which has the potential to be fatal, calls for urgent medical attention.

Anaphylaxis can cause shock, unconsciousness, asphyxia, heart or respiratory failure, or even death if it is not treated right away.

The Rash Burns

Numerous rashes are distinguished by the appearance of both small and large blisters. These include genital herpes, shingles, and chickenpox. A healthcare professional needs to examine each of these right away.

A potentially fatal medication reaction can also manifest as a blistering rash. This includes toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Early symptoms of both include skin puffiness and pain, which are followed by extensive blistering and skin layer peeling.

The Rash Rapidly Spreads

Never disregard a rash that is rapidly spreading. With some rashes, such as shingles, you can occasionally observe the blistering lesions form and spread right in front of your eyes. A similar thing can happen while taking drugs, which frequently affects the chest and back before moving on to the arms and the legs.

Cellulitis is a form of bacterial skin infection that initially manifests as moderately inflamed skin but quickly worsens to cause intense redness, swelling, warmth, and discomfort. This condition is potentially more worrisome. 

Red streaks may radiate outward along with pus-filled or blistering pimples as the infection spreads.


If you have any reason to be worried about a rash, it is better to be safe than sorry. Go with your instinct, consult a doctor, or visit the neighborhood walk-in clinic. You can also use your smartphone or laptop camera to connect with a telehealth provider who can examine the rash.

Ask your doctor to recommend a dermatologist if a rash is persistent or unattractive but not producing any other concerning symptoms so they can start an inquiry and determine the source.

If you need an urgent care center in New Mexico, don’t hesitate to turn to Aspen Medical Center. We’re a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Visit us anytime you need urgent care.