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You can get a red, blotchy, bumpy rash on your skin for almost any reason, from an allergic reaction or fever to sun exposure or even itchy clothes (we're feeling you, impulse-buy wool scarf from Reykjavik—and we mean we’re feeling you literally). However, if you've got a new rash that pops up for no reason, it is worth checking out. In some cases, it may be dermatitis, which basically means irritated skin, with lots of causes and lots of manifestations (like eczema). In other cases, a rash can signal an autoimmune disease. If it’s on your face, for instance, especially if it’s shaped like a butterfly, it could be a sign of lupus. People with Sjogren's syndrome may be more susceptible to rashes, especially after spending time in the sun. And of course, one hallmark of Lyme is erythema migraines, a rash that resembles a bull's-eye on a dartboard. If your rash is uncomfortable, you can help make your skin feel better if you moisturize it every day and try an OTC antihistamine or a hydrocortisone cream. Applying cool wet cloths or taking a warm colloidal oatmeal bath can be soothing. And try not to rub or scratch! Seek medical attention right away if your rash appears all over your body or spreads rapidly, starts to bleed or blister, is painful, looks infected, or if you also have a fever. Your practitioner can identify a rash much more easily than you can. If they can’t diagnose it by sight and believe it’s worth exploring, they can take the next steps to help determine the cause. We promise, a visit to them will be a lot less anxiety-producing than going down the search engine rabbit hole.

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