Is It a Rash or Something Else? Tips for Determining if It’s Time to See a Doctor
Skin rashes are a tricky issue. You don’t want to dismiss it. Your parent doesn’t want to pay for an unnecessary doctor’s visit. They think the rash will clear up. You’re worried. Here are tips on knowing when to see a doctor.
Has Anything Changed
Many rashes are allergic reactions to something new. Has your parent changed soaps or skin creams recently? Is the laundry detergent or fabric softener a new formulation or brand? Has your mom or dad started a new medication? Did they eat a food they’d never had before?
If your parent has been gardening, the rash may be from exposure to a plant like poison ivy or bug bites. If the rash has a white center surrounded by a bright red circle, it could be a deer tick bite. Seek medical care in case it is Lyme disease.
With an allergic reaction to new skin care products, detergents, or fabric softeners, try a cream designed for rashes. Benadryl cream is one to try. If the rash clears up, you’ll know it was a reaction. Try to find unscented, mild products designed for sensitive skin.
Are There Other Symptoms?
You see the rash, but are there other symptoms? Does your parent have a fever? If so, it could be a disease that needs medical attention. It could also be an infection. Are there blisters or open sores? If so, it could lead to an infection that needs medical attention. Is your parent complaining of pain? It could be shingles and need medical attention.
Make Medical Care a Priority
If you can get your parent to see a doctor, it’s better to be safe. In some elderly patients, a trip to the doctor is incredibly stressful. That stress can often be worse than the actual rash.
Call your mom or dad’s doctor for advice. Be prepared to describe where the rash is and if it is blistered or simply just small red bumps. The medical office may suggest you wait a day or two and see what happens. If it worsens, you’d need to seek medical care.
It Helps to Know the Situation Leading to the Rash
When your parent lives alone, you might not know what led to the rash. This makes it hard to understand what may have caused the rash. With elderly care services, you have a caregiver around to see what your mom or dad drank, ate, and did. It can make pinpointing a rash’s cause easier.