Cancel
Nearby: Atlanta, GA 30308

Access Your Account

New to Healthgrades?

Join for free!

Or, sign in directly with Healthgrades:

Doctors and their Administrators:
Sign Up or Log In

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Psoriasis

Arm Rash

By

Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What is arm rash?

Rash is a symptom that causes the affected area of skin to turn red and blotchy and to swell. A rash may cause spots that are bumpy, scaly, flaky, or filled with pus. Rashes can vary in location, pattern and extent and may occur in any area of the body. An arm rash can have a variety of causes, and it may indicate something occurring around the arm itself or suggest a systemic (body-wide) condition.

Contact dermatitis (skin inflammation) is caused by an adverse reaction to something that touches the skin, including chemicals found in detergent, soap or a fragrance. For example, you may develop a rash on your arm when you wear a shirt that was washed with a particular detergent or treated with a chemical. Metal, such as jewelry, can also cause arm rash. Other forms of contact dermatitis include exposure to certain plants, such as poison oak or ivy, an animal bite, or an insect sting. Lyme disease is caused by tick bite and can first appear as a circle with a bull’s-eye pattern, then progress to a rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is another tick-borne condition that may start with a rash on the arms and legs, followed by fever and other flu-like symptoms.

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a Great Dermatologist Near You

Allergies to food and medications are potentially serious sources of rash. Peanuts, shellfish, strawberries and avocados are just some of the foods that can trigger allergic reactions. These foods may cause mild reactions; however, in some cases, reactions could develop into potentially life-threatening conditions characterized by vomiting, difficulty breathing, or swelling. Allergic purpura is a serious, often life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause a skin rash but can also affect the joints, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys.

Rashes may also be associated with skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and impetigo. Some of these are chronic skin conditions that may flare up for a time, then resolve. Other causes for rash include autoimmune disorders that occur when the body is attacked by its own immune system, which normally serves to protect it from foreign invaders (antigens). Many viruses that occur during flu season, or those associated with childhood diseases, such as chickenpox or measles, can produce rash.

Rashes can be caused by an allergic reaction to food, medications, lotions or detergents. These reactions can range from mild to potentially life threatening, especially if swelling and constriction of breathing occurs, which could indicate anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if a rash is accompanied by any serious symptoms, including swelling of the face, swelling or constriction of the throat, difficulty breathing, fainting, change in level of consciousness or alertness, pale skin, or purple rash.

Seek prompt medical care if a rash is persistent and causes you concern.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Oct 8, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Skin rashes and other changes. FamilyDoctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/545.html.
  2. Rashes. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003220.htm.

You Might Also Like

Share via Email

NEXT ARTICLE:

5 Things You Didn't Know About Sensitive Skin

Up Next

5 Things You Didn't Know About Sensitive Skin