When to Worry About a Rash in Adults?

Alarming signs and symptoms

We should be alarmed about a skin rash and look for medical assistance in two different scenarios:

  • After noticing certain characteristics of the rash
  • After noticing a combination of signs and symptoms

Alarming signs related to the skin rash include the following:

1) Large extension of the rash

If the rash covers a large extension of your body or your body as a whole, it is a good idea to ask for medical help. Infectious diseases causing this type of rash are more severe as we grow older, and it might be due to a hemorrhagic cause.

2) Rapid or sudden spread of the rash

If the rash spreads in hours or minutes, it is very likely an allergic cause. Some types of allergic rash are very dangerous, especially when accompanied by symptoms we will discuss below.

3) An oozing rash

In many cases, itching and scratching cause infection of a rash, and what was not originally a severe cause becomes complicated with infection.

Alarming signs and symptom that may accompany serious causes of rash include:

1) Fever

The combination of skin rash and fever might not be distressing in children, but it should raise an alarm in adults. It may be due to infectious causes that complicate into hemorrhagic conditions, and in some cases, leukemia should be ruled out as well.

2) Bleeding episodes

If you have a skin rash with bleeding gums or find blood in your stools or your urine, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor right away. Your rash is very likely caused by skin hemorrhage, and it is important to find out why.

3) Breathing difficulty

A skin rash that spreads rapidly accompanied by breathing difficulties should be treated as an absolute emergency, especially in allergic individuals. Food allergies are the most common cause.


American Osteopathic Association. (2015, October 5). Adult rashes with fever call for emergency treatment, can signal life-threatening illness: Survival rates improve with aggressive, early treatment for these difficult to diagnose conditions. ScienceDaily.

Hiddemann, W. (2016). Handbook of acute leukemia. Springer International Publishing.