Overview of Rashes

A rash is an area of inflamed and irritated skin. Rashes are characterized by redness, itching, swelling, and various types of skin lesions (e.g., macules, papules, nodules, plaques, pustules, vesicles, wheals). In some cases, the area of skin affected is dry and sensitive, cracks or flakes, and is warm to the touch.

Most people experience some type of itchy skin rash during their lifetime. In most cases, simple rashes are not serious; but rarely, a rash can indicate a life-threatening condition. It is important to see a physician for the correct diagnosis of any rash.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Jan 2007

Last Modified: 27 Jul 2010