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When to Use Virtual Care: Rashes and Blisters

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When to Use Virtual Care: Blisters and Rashes

After a long day outside in the garden, you come inside to discover a rash forming on the inside of your arms. But how do you know what it is? It could be hives, heat rash, poison ivy or something else. How do you know what needs medical attention and what you can deal with at home?

Rashes and blisters commonly appear during the summertime. When wearing summer clothes, more of our skin is exposed and, therefore, more likely to come into contact with irritants that cause rashes and blisters. Learn how to decode your rashes and blisters to better understand what can be treated with common remedies and what may need medical attention.

Common Skin Irritants That Cause Rashes and Blisters

Many skin irritants we come into contact with during the summer are mild and easily treated at home. If you are unsure what your skin is suffering from, read below to discover common causes of rashes and blisters.

allergic reactionRashes

  • Rashes can be brought on by a multitude of outside sources, including:
  • Insect bites
  • Allergic reactions
  • Poison ivy and poison oak
  • Heat
  • Medication

Insect bites can swell and expand beyond the bite site and cause a large itchy rash. A bee sting may cause an allergic reaction of hives, being active outside in the heat in tight clothing can cause a heat rash and coming into contact with poison ivy or oak can cause oozy, itchy and painful rashes that spread. Even some medication can cause an allergic reaction of hives or make your skin more sensitive to the sun and heat rash.

Most of these common rashes will heal on their own when treated at home. To soothe itching and pain, keep the rash area cool and moist with a wet cloth, wear loose-fitting clothing, fight the urge to scratch and avoid exposing the rash to direct sunlight.

Depending on the severity of the rash and how itchy or painful it is, you may need to seek medical attention. If the rash looks oozy or infected, contact a provider using UnityPoint Health Virtual Care.

Chicken Pox


Blisters can take different shapes and forms depending on the underlying cause. Blisters can occur from things such as:

  • Friction
  • Sunburn
  • Frostbite
  • Infections
  • Chickenpox
  • Shingles
  • Medication

You may get a blister after wearing new shoes or baking too long in the sun. Infections such as bullous impetigo, chickenpox and shingles also bring on painful and itchy blisters. Certain medications have shown side effects of blistering as well, such as doxycycline.

The best way to treat common blisters caused by friction or a sunburn is to leave them be. Do not pop or drain the fluid from them, as this fluid helps prevent infections and will be reabsorbed into the skin. If a blister does break, wash the area with soap and water and cover with a Band-Aid.


For blisters brought on by illness such as impetigo, chickenpox and shingles, you can get over-the-counter or prescribed medication from your doctor. Impetigo can be alleviated with antibiotic cream or pills. While there is no medication to speed the healing process of chickenpox, the itching and sores can be soothed with over-the-counter calamine lotion. Shingles will heal more quickly with the help of antiviral medication. If you believe you or your child has fallen ill with one of these, call virtual care to get a fast medical opinion.

Medical Conditions Causing Blisters and Rashes

Just as there are common causes of rashes and blisters, there are underlying skin conditions that can cause irritating skin outbreaks as well.



Psoriasis and eczema are two non-contagious skin conditions that may affect you or your children. Psoriasis is a bumpy, scaly, dry rash that most commonly occurs around the scalp, elbows and knees. Eczema is commonly found in children who suffer from asthma or hay fever. There are topical and oral treatments available for both conditions, however, there is no absolute cure.


Chronic skin conditions that cause blistering include:

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Pemphigoid
  • Pemphigus
  • Epidermolysis bullosa
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a condition that causes itchy, red bumps or blisters on the skin’s surface. Pemphigoid, a more uncommon condition that affects the elderly, presents itself in large, itchy blisters. Lastly, pemphigus, a disease that strikes during middle age, causes blisters and sores inside the mouth and on the skin.

Friction Blisters

These blisters will appear with little to no explanation. If you experience a new pattern of blisters and don’t know what the cause may be, you should seek out advice from your doctor. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a rare side effect of those suffering from a gluten intolerance and, over time, a gluten-free diet will help relieve the skin sores. For conditions such as pemphigus and pemphigoid, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications are used to suppress the condition, although it will not cure it.

Virtual Care Can Help!

Many common rashes and blisters can be treated at home without the hassle of visiting the doctor. Yet if you or your child suffers from a new allergic reaction to a plant or insect bite, a fever breaks out with the  occurrence of a rash or blister, or the area begins to look infected, reach out to a provider through UnityPoint Health Virtual Care.