Dermatologists are doctors that specialize in conditions affecting the skin. If you develop a rash, sores, or other issues with your skin, they can diagnose and treat them.
However, if you have concerns about a skin issue when a dermatologist isn’t available — evenings or weekends, for example — urgent care centers typically are open during those times. Can urgent care treat skin infections? Yes, the clinicians at an urgent care center can diagnose and treat common skin problems.
And if necessary, they can refer you to a dermatologist for additional evaluation and care or as a follow-up to the treatment they provide.
Why Do Skin Rashes Occur?
The term “rash” refers to many types of skin irritations. Most are minor and go away on their own or with over-the-counter treatments. You might develop temporary skin irritation from things like:
- Insect stings or bites
- Contact with chemical irritants
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Exposure to hot or cold weather
However, a rash can indicate you have a more serious health condition. Consequently, if you aren’t sure what’s causing your skin irritation, you should seek medical attention.
Common Causes of Skin Rashes
In addition to the causes above, you might develop a rash from things like:
This term covers several similar diseases that cause skin inflammation. Multiple factors play a role in eczema, including genetics, environmental triggers, stress, immune system overreaction, and others. The condition is common but not contagious.
As the name suggests, this type of skin irritation occurs when you come into contact with specific substances. The list of potential triggers is long and includes many plants (poison ivy, poison oak, etc.), soaps, pesticides, fabrics, nail polish, rubber gloves, hair dyes, body lotions, oils, perfumes, fabric softeners, and antibiotics.
Viral and bacterial infections
Chickenpox, shingles, and staph infections are just a few examples of conditions that can cause a rash. These rashes are more concerning since you can transmit the illness that causes them to others.
Fungal and parasitic infections
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot and yeast infections can cause significant skin irritation. Some, like athlete’s foot, are contagious, whereas others (yeast infections) generally are not. Scabies is an example of a parasitic infection. It’s caused by a mite that burrows into the skin and is highly contagious.
People with the respiratory allergy called hay fever may develop a rash when certain allergens contact their skin. Hay fever isn’t contagious.
Psoriasis is a noncontagious autoimmune disease that causes rashes and overproduction of skin cells resulting in silvery scales.
Rosacea causes blood vessels near the surface of the skin on the face to expand, producing redness and a non-itchy rash. It’s not contagious.
When to Visit Urgent Care for a Skin Rash
Most skin rashes are benign and don’t require urgent medical attention. However, you should visit an urgent care center if you experience a rash along with any of these symptoms: