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TV Interview: Dr. Ryan Shelton on Rash 101

If you have sensitive skin, or are one of those people who gets rashes often, you know how itchy, red, painful and irritated your skin can become. It can be miserable! A rash is almost always a symptom caused by fungus or irritating substances and allergies. It’s important to figure out what kind of rash you have before treating it.

I dropped by WCNC’s Charlotte Today to talk about the most common types of rashes, how to treat them and when you should worry.

Contact dermatitis:

  • What is it? A type of eczema most people get by touching something that causes a rash due to an allergy (like poison ivy), an irritant (like bleach) or lots of contact with water.
  • What can we do? Tame the triggers that commonly cause contact dermatitis. Keep in mind these can be things that caused no previous issue (like a wedding ring).
  • Common treatments: Antihistamine pills, moisturizer, corticosteroids and oatmeal baths


  • What is it? Ringworm is a skin infection caused by fungus (no worms involved). The name probably comes from the rash’s ring-shaped pattern and raised, scaly border.
  • What can we do? The fungus that causes ringworm thrives in warm, moist areas, so keep the area clean and dry.
  • Common treatments: Depending upon where this rash appears your doctor will likely prescribe an antifungal ointment, cream or powder.


  • What is it? Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. If the virus reactivates (wakes up), often later in life, the result is shingles – a painful, blistering rash.
  • What can we do? You can get a vaccine, but it is often not covered by insurance.
  • Common treatments: Pain relievers, anti-viral medicine, nerve blocks and corticosteroids

Be worried if the rash is all over your body, is accompanied by a fever, appears suddenly or spreads rapidly! The rash might be infected if it exhibits discharge, swelling, pain or heat.