A rash is a lay-term used for nearly any skin eruption, but more commonly for a patch of skin that is red. A rash may also be inflamed and hot, flat or raised, dry or wet, and associated with other symptoms or not.
Many infections, either topical or systemic , can be associated with a rash. Measles, chickenpox and rubella are common examples of infections that are not too serious. However, a rash caused by a bacterium such as streptococcus, as in association with a ‘strep’ throat, or meningitis, as found on the thighs of infants in particular, is a much more serious condition.
Contact dermatitis is frequent such as in the rash from a stinging nettle or from a chemical at work, or a rash may be associated with an allergy, be it from contact, ingestion or inhalation. Insect bites can commonly create a rash, especially ticks or fleas. A heat rash may be associated with excessive exposure to sun.
More serious conditions such as blood clotting disorders or leukaemia may present as a rash. A rash is a form of superficial inflammation. Irritation or damage to cells creates a release of chemicals such as histamine that encourage blood flow, which in turn brings in white blood cells for defence and nutrients for repair. A rash is generally a warning or healing process and rarely the end stage of a serious condition. ‘Heed the warning and encourage the repair’ should be your motto for any rash.
The Eastern philosophies consider a rash to be associated with excess heat in the system and underlying causes should be illustrated rather than paying special attention to the rash. Homeopathy considers skin to be a very important organ of excretion. Disease conditions move from the inside out and they are often at the end point of resolution when a skin rash appears. Incorrect treatment may suppress the underlying condition, inhibiting repair.
Please refer to the relevant section if a cause is known for the rash.
A rash may be soothed by cold applications.
A homeopathic remedy may be selected according to the site and type of rash by reference to your preferred homeopathic manual or a homeopathic practitioner.
Calendula or Urtica cream should be applied to an area that is irritated.
An oat poultice, made by soaking oats in water for a few minutes and compressing, can draw heat from an area.
An application of a strong chamomile tea or oats soaked in chamomile as above can be soothing.
Drink plenty of water to flush the system. This should be neither too hot nor too cold because the former puts extra heat into the body and the latter causes the body to respond by producing more heat.
A persistent rash with no obvious cause should be reviewed by a GP to rule out underlying disease. Special attention should be paid to rashes that are not red or not improving after 48h. Refuse treatment with steroids or other drugs until alternative treatments have failed.
Investigations such as blood tests may be necessary and, at an extreme, a biopsy of the rash may be of benefit to the dermatologist.