What Causes Red Rash All Over Body?

What Causes Red Rash All Over Body?
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A rash can be due to a number of reasons, ranging from allergic reactions, food or topical ointments, to infections both internal and external. The extent of the rash can also vary. It can be localized to a certain region of the body or even spread all over the body. This article will discuss the possible causes of rashes all over the body, instructions on when a doctor’s assistance should be sought and possible treatment options for such rashes.

Possible Causes of Red Rash All Over Body

1. Viral Infections

These rashes are often associated with fever. The diagnosis of this condition is based on examination of the appearance of the rash. There are some underlying viral infections that give rise to specific rashes.

  • Chickenpox is a kind of viral infection which shows up as small, itchy red spots or macules all over the body. The macules evolve into papules and vesicles and later into pustules.
  • Shingles can manifest as a rash and is caused along the nerves. The red rash all over body induced in this condition is very painful.
  • Measles occur after a period with high fever and respiratory difficulties. The rashes begin in the form of papules on the face and behind the ears and these rashes can also grow into larger lesions. If not treated promptly, the rashes can also spread to other parts of the body.
  • German measles is a special type of measles which occurs as fine rashes with macules and papules. The lymph nodes also swell up.

2. Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections are very common causes of red rash all over body.

  • Impetigo is an example of a skin condition caused by the staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. It usually affects the exposed parts of the body such as face, hands and feet. The rash occurs in the form of blisters that are filled with pus. These blisters erupt very easily and leave a mark behind.
  • Meningitis is another condition where the tissues over the brain can get inflamed, resulting in a rash that persists despite application of pressure. When a rash occurs during meningitis, this is considered an emergency.
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases can also include the transfer of rash-causing bacteria. Such rashes typically occur in the genital region although they can spread to other parts of the body in extreme cases.
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, or SSSS, is another bacterial infection that causes rashes. The staphylococcal bacteria release rash-causing toxins into the blood. The rash can occur as large or small blisters.
  • Toxic shock syndrome is another condition similar to SSSS and its symptoms include fever as well as loss of upper layers of skin, leaving a rash on the exposed under skin.

3. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can also lead to red rash all over body. If not treated promptly, these infections can continue to spread and wreak havoc on the skin. There are three main skin conditions caused by fungal infections.

  • Ringworm causes ring-shaped lesions on the skin, which grow while exposing a scaly border. The lesions are very itchy.
  • Pityriasis versicolor is another common fungal skin condition that turns the skin into a series of velvety, tan or pink macules on the face.

4. Other Causes

  • Certain skin allergies can also lead to red rash all over body. The skin is the first site where most allergic reactions are manifested, and are known as dermatitis. Symptoms may include itching, appearance of hives, dry skin, and in severe cases, swelling of the skin.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis cause lesions to appear on the skin, including the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back and the buttocks area. Scales appear in these areas and their removal often causes bleeding.

When to See a Doctor

In general, professional medical advice should be sought immediately if the symptoms are severe and also if mild symptoms are not receding even after a few days. There are some symptoms of rashes on the skin that constitute a medical emergency, and you should be able to recognize them properly:

  • If a rash occurs suddenly and covers a significant portion of the body
  • If you start taking a new medication and experience rashes on your skin
  • If you experience a bout of flu before or after the onset of a rash that covers most of your skin
  • If your eyes become inflamed and red along with the rashes on your body
  • If you see rashes developing on your body and at the same time you are unable to stand without feeling weak or lightheaded

How to Treat Red Rash All Over Body

Home Care

People suffering from rashes all over the body can take cool baths with oatmeal to reduce the itch; after the bath, application of baking soda solution can also help alleviate the symptoms. When suffering from a rash, make sure you wear loose, breathable fabrics so that the rashes are not irritated further.


Topical antiseptics or antibacterial ointments are often enough to treat the skin conditions that cause rashes. At times, however, the doctor may also prescribe oral antibiotics. For allergic reactions that lead to rashes on the skin, antihistamines may also be prescribed to reduce the itchiness that accompanies the rash.