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What Causes An Autoimmune Rash 10 Possible Conditions

Skin rashes in coronavirus, an important clinical feature

What autoimmune conditions cause a rash on the skin? These are the most common autoimmune diseases that may cause rashes on your skin:

  • Lupus
  • Lichen planus
  • Behçets disease

An autoimmune disease occurs when your bodys immune system attacks healthy cells within the body. This dysfunctional immune response may lead to various symptoms, like hair loss, skin rash, or even joint pain.

More than 20 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or Hashimotos thyroiditis.

Why do autoimmune conditions cause a rash? Autoimmune conditions may cause a rash because they trigger inflammation in skin cells. These diseases are often characterized by chronic inflammation in your internal organs, your skin, and everywhere in between.

What do autoimmune rashes look like? Autoimmune rashes can look like scaly red patches, purplish bumps, or more. The appearance of autoimmune rashes will be different, depending on which autoimmune condition is triggering the skin rash.

For example, cutaneous lupus may cause a scaly red patch that does not hurt or itch. Scalp psoriasis may cause plaque buildup that results in hair loss. Lichen planus may cause purplish, itchy, flat bumps on your skin.

Learn more about the autoimmune conditions that may cause skin rashes. Here are 10 of the conditions that commonly cause autoimmune rashes and pictures of what these autoimmune skin disorders might look like on the average patient.

Are You Sure Your Patient Has Fever And Rash What Should You Expect To Find

Generalized rashes are among the most frequent conditions seen by primary care physicians and the most common reason for new patient visits to dermatologists. Accurate diagnosis is important, because treatment varies depending on the etiology and because some rashes are life-threatening if not treated promptly.

It is most convenient to categorize patients with fever and rash according to the type of rash and its distribution. They can be grouped according to eruption characteristics. Table I provides information on types of skin lesions.

The distribution or direction of spread of an eruption and the number and type of lesions can help to narrow the diagnosis of fever and rash, but by itself it rarely suggests a single diagnosis. The presence of other lesions, most notable target lesions, may suggest a single diagnosis. In the latter group, infections are frequently the cause of the underlying disease. Table II provides the most common infectious and non-infectious causes of rashes.

Characteristics of the skin lesions:

The distribution of spread of an eruption is highly informative. Most drug and viral infection-associated eruptions begin on the face and trunk and spread outward.

The number of lesions may help to distinguish within and between infections. In patients with Salmonella, those who have paratyphoid fever usually have more skin lesions than those with typhoid fever. In contrast, brucellosis may be associated with only one or a few clinically subtle skin lesions.

When To Seek Medical Care

The most common complications from heat rash include secondary infection from scratching and heat exhaustion.Although uncommon, infected areas due to breaks in the skin caused by scratching may need antibiotic treatment for resolution. Seek care if the rash develops pus, redness, crusting, swelling, or tenderness.In cases of heat exhaustion, the skin will appear hot and flushed without any sweat. The person may complain of dizziness, nausea, weakness, headache, confusion, or difficulty breathing. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, so medical care should be obtained right away. Symptoms of heat stroke include a very high temperature of 105°F or greater, decreased or loss of consciousness, or seizure.While awaiting medical care, get the affected person indoors or under shade, undress them, and apply cool compresses to the body.

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How Can Fever And Rash Be Prevented

Prevention of diseases causing fever and rash is difficult. Cough etiquette, contact precautions, and hand hygiene are easy and cost-effective measures in reducing the spread of infectious agents causing fever and rash. Avoiding unnecessary drug prescriptions prevents drug-related adverse events.

For measles, mumps, rubella prevention can be achieved by vaccination . In adolescents and adults, if none confirmatory immunization documentation exists, they need to receive two doses of MMR, at least 4-week apart. MMR is contraindicated in pregnancy, HIV with CD4 lymphocyte < 200 cells/mm3, or immune compromised patients.

Prevention of varicella and meningococcemia can also be achieved by vaccination. Both vaccines have been accepted in most national immunization programs. There are variations across the globe depending on the epidemiology of the disease , health budget, and authority decisions .

For meningococcal disease, chemoprophylaxis can also be useful. Among household contacts, the incidence of transmission of meningococcus is approximately 5% therefore, it is recommended that household contacts of bacteriologically confirmed cases receive rifampin . These contacts should be advised to watch for fever, rash, sore throat, or any symptoms of meningitis. Intimate, non-household contacts who have had mucosal exposure to the patients oral secretions should also receive prophylaxis.

Figure 1.

How To Identify A Viral Rash

Skin Rash: Pictures, Causes, Types, and Treatments

A viral rash can usually be identified by red or pink bumps, blotches, or welts that may start on one part of your body and spread. However, a viral rash’s appearance, location, and pattern can vary based on the virus causing the underlying infection.

Recognizing critical features of certain viral rashes, such as the shape of welts, can help identify the virus causing the problem.

In many cases, the virus causing the rash also triggers one or more of the following viral symptoms:

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Strange Symptoms Of Covid

Predicting how your body will react to COVID-19 is unpredictable.

You can have one or you can have many different symptoms. These symptoms occur from either direct damage to your cells or your body’s natural response to fighting off the infection. Each person can respond in totally different ways. Many of these symptoms are normal and similar to what we see with other types of infections, while others the medical community is still learning about.

Some of the most common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, aches and diarrhea. Losing your sense of taste or smell can also happen.

While almost anything is possible, some less common symptoms of acute COVID-19 are included in the following list below. In addition, up to 20% to 30% of people will have prolonged symptoms that can be mild to severe that can last months. This is referred to as post-COVID syndrome or “long haul” COVID-19 symptoms.

Less common symptoms can include:

  • Skin rashes that can include small bumps, discolored areas or blisters. Viruses can affect any part of the body where blood flows, so it’s not surprising that it would affect the skin, which has the most blood vessels
  • COVID toes. This is a type of skin condition that is associated with swelling, blister-like bumps or discoloration on the toes or fingers. This reaction appears to be more common in children or young adults and can last up to 14 days or for months
  • What Is A Rash

    An area on your skin that is itchy, irritated, and swollen is called a rash. A rash can be raised, bumpy, blistered, or patchy.

    Rashes can present differently depending on your skin tone. People with lighter skin often see rashes that are pink, red, or purple. People with darker skin might develop rashes that are white, gray, or darker than the surrounding skin.

    Rashes can be caused by many things including:

    • underlying health conditions

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    Whats The Treatment For A Viral Exanthem Rash

    Treatment aims to ease symptoms of the skin rash and other virus symptoms. For example, your healthcare provider might recommend lotions or creams to reduce itchiness, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lower fever and relieve body aches.

    But theres no treatment or cure for most viruses. You usually have to wait for the virus to run its course.

    Vitiligo Can Cause Skin To Lighten In Patches

    What Does Heat Rash Look Like: Causes And Treatment

    Vitiligo causes your skin to lighten in patches as your body destroys melanocytes, the cells that make pigment. In some cases, your skin may lose all pigment and turn completely white. The condition can affect your hair, the inside of your mouth, and your eyes.

    There is no cure for vitiligo, though treatments exist to restore pigment to the skin to even out your skin tone. These include cover-up or foundation, oral and topical medications, and light treatments applied to the affected areas. Light treatments can be time-intensive and costly, and they dont always work. Surgical treatments, such as skin grafting and tattooing, are another option.

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    Examples Of These Rashes

    Although COVID-19 is often thought of as a disease that affects the respiratory system, rashes had been reported in a number of cases of people in China and Europe who had been hospitalised with severe symptoms of the disease. However, this is the first and largest study to systematically gather data about skin rashes in milder cases in the wider population.

    âMany viral infections can affect the skin, so itâs not surprising that we are seeing these rashes in COVID-19,â says study author Dr Veronique Bataille, consultant dermatologist at St Thomasâ Hospital and Kingâs College London.

    âHowever, it is important that people know that in some cases, a rash may be the first or only symptom of the disease. So if you notice a new rash, you should take it seriously by self-isolating and getting tested as soon as possible.â

    Commenting on the study, consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk said:

    âThese findings highlight the importance of keeping an eye on any new changes in your skin, such as lumps, bumps or rashes. Early reporting of COVID-associated rashes by members of the public and recognition of their significance by frontline healthcare practitioners – such as GPs, NHS 111 and hospital staff – may increase the detection of coronavirus infections and help to stop the spread.â

    Dr Tanya Bleiker, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, explains why these findings are important:

    Dizziness Fatigue And Skin Rash

    Reviewed on 12/1/2020

    A skin rash along with dizziness and fatigue can be present in different conditions including certain viral or bacterial infections. Medication reactions may also cause this kind of symptom. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms, and do not stop taking any prescription medications unless directed to do so by your doctor.

    While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:

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    What Is A Viral Rash

    A viral rash, also known as a viral exanthem, is a skin rash or eruption that commonly occurs as a symptom of a viral infection. It develops as an immune reaction to a virus.

    A viral rash can vary in size, appearance, and intensity. It can sometimes cause itching, burning, or other types of discomfort.

    While they can cover large areas of your body and look alarming, viral rashes usually resolve within a few days to a few weeks without treatment.

    Urticaria Can Be The First Sign Of Covid

    Common Skin Rashes, Causes and Treatment

    Urticaria is also common in COVID-19. The clinical features do not appear to differ from those of idiopathic urticaria and typically consist of generalized pruritic wheals., On average, urticaria lasts less than 1 week and is associated with relatively mild disease and survival rates of 97.8% to 98.2%.

    Histologic features also mimic those of idiopathic urticaria and thus limit the value of skin biopsy., However, urticarial vasculitis has been described in association with COVID-19, suggesting that biopsy should be considered in patients with persistent urticarial plaques with associated purpura.

    Interestingly, in a systematic review of 895 patients with COVID-19, 105 had urticarial lesions, and in 17 of these 105 the urticaria began before the onset of the other COVID-19 symptoms, suggesting that it can be a clue to diagnosis in appropriate clinical settings and can help guide early testing . Additionally, an analysis of 200 patients with COVID-19 with cutaneous manifestations found a significant association between urticaria and gastrointestinal symptoms, which could assist clinicians in their anticipatory management.

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    Taking Care Of Rashes At Home

    Many mild rashes can be treated at home. To help relieve discomfort and promote healing, try the following:

    • Use mild, unscented soaps and cleansers
    • Wash your skin and hair with lukewarm water instead of hot
    • Pat rashes dry instead of rubbing
    • Avoid covering rashes when possible. They heal better when they can breathe.
    • Stop using new products that may have triggered the rash
    • Avoid scratching it can lead to potentially-serious infections
    • Itchy rashes can be soothed by hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion
    • Take an oatmeal bath
    • Over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve minor pain associated with a rash.

    What Are Causes Of Life

    Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune skin disease that occurs when the body’s immune system is misdirected and produces antibodies directed at a protein vital to the connection of epidermal cells. Toxic epidermal necrolysis and DRESS syndrome are hypersensitivity reactions, most often to drugs. Meningococcemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and necrotizing fasciitis are due to an infection.

    • Pemphigus vulgaris
    • PV is a disorder of the immune system . As in all autoimmune disorders, the body’s natural immune system mistakenly identifies proteins within the skin as foreign by producing antibodies to attack the foreign intruder.
    • In PV, the target of these antibodies is a protein named desmoglein 3, which is part of a structure called a desmosome. Desmosomes are responsible for holding epidermal cells together.
    • Certain medications have been linked with the development of PV, including D-penicillamine , captopril , enalapril , penicillin, interleukin 2, nifedipine , and rifampicin .
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • The exact cause of TEN is unknown, but it is thought to be a severe form of allergic reaction to certain medications or infections.
  • Antibiotics, typically sulfa-containing and penicillin-containing antibiotics, and medications given for seizures have been linked to TEN, as have the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • DRESS syndrome is an acronym for drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms.
  • Toxic shock syndrome
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    Alopecia Areata Can Cause Large Bald Spots

    If you start losing large amounts of hair creating large bald spots, it may be due to alopecia areata, a condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles in otherwise healthy people. This disease is marked by hair loss that occurs in round patches. You may lose all the hair on your scalp or body.

    Alopecia areata is an unpredictable disease, and there is no cure. Hair growth sometimes restarts on its own, or there are treatments to spur regrowth. Your dermatologist can inject your scalp with corticosteroids and prescription creams may also help. Minoxidil, which is now available over the counter, is safe for children and adults to use. While you work with your doctor on treating alopecia, you may want to try changing your hairstyle to cover the alopecia patches or temporarily using a hair piece, suggests Dr. Simzar.

    Are Your Toes Discolored

    Urticaria Hives: Causes and Solution

    Although COVID rashes can occur on various parts of the body, including the abdomen and arms, one of the most common COVID-related skin symptoms occurs on the toes. COVID toes appear as “blue/purple discoloration of the toes,” says doctor and infectious disease expert Ceppie Merry, MD. “The toes may also be painful and swollen.” According to Merry, these rashes are related to the vascular issues COVID causes. If your toes look off, you should talk with your doctor about whether or not to get tested for COVID. And for more on where the virus is spreading, check out This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

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    What Imaging Studies Will Be Helpful In Making Or Excluding The Diagnosis Of Fever And Rash

    Imaging tests are not cornerstone in the diagnostic work-up of an uneventful episode of fever and rash.

    Imaging studies are usually ordered in life-threatening conditions, patients with serious underlying diseases , and individuals in whom a complication is suspected.

    A patient centered evaluation should dictate the sequence and type of study.

    Average prices of these imaging studies in US dollars can be:

    Head CT scan: $200-$2000

    CT scan : $600-$2500

    Ultrasound: $99-$1000

    Head CT and/or Brain MRI Fever and rash + abnormal neurological examination Meningococcemia, rickettsial infection. Severe forms of varicella and herpes. Complicated measles
    CT Scan Systemic toxicity + rapidly progressing soft tissue necrosis Necrotizing fasciitis
    Infectious mononucleosis . Any disease with serious hepatic and/or splenic involvement
    Transesophageal Echocardiography Heart murmur + continuous bacteremia and/or peripheral manifestations of endocarditis Subacute bacterial endocarditis

    Do You Have A Rash Know The Difference Between Common Conditions And When It Could Signal A More Serious Health Concern

    Rashes are caused by exposure to any number of environmental allergens such as food, weather, sunlight and even stress.

    Many of these can be treated effectively with over-the-counter medications. But in some cases, your skin may be telling you that you have a more serious condition.

    In dermatology, we treat a wide variety of rashes, from life-threatening to simply bothersome, says Ashley B. Crew, MD, a dermatologist at Keck Medicine of USC and clinical associate professor dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

    Because skin is the largest organ in the body, it can show signs of an internal disease before the disease shows typical symptoms.

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