Where to Seek Help: Rash


Jason Sellers, MD

Our skin protects us from the elements but is also prone to damage such as rashes, burns, and itchiness. Where should you go for help when you notice a new rash suddenly appear?

We last talked about where to seek help for stomach pain, and the consensus was that it’s best to see your PCP for guidance on what to do next. How about if you notice a new pesky rash? Is your knee jerk reaction to go get a steroid cream at urgent care? Let’s break it down.

A Visit to the Emergency Department

We’ll keep this short and sweet: unless you are suffering from a severe burn or allergic reaction, the ED is usually not the first place to go. Rashes warranting a trip to the ED usually occur with other severe symptoms or are from other conditions, such as an injury or medication reaction. But if you have any doubt, check with your PCP.

A Visit to Urgent Care

Most people suffering from a red and itchy or painful rash may think that the best place to go for treatment is urgent care. You may have to wait in line, you may be exposed to some people with colds or the flu, you may have to pay a hefty co-pay, but at least you’ll get your script for that steroid cream and continue on with your day.

But if the cream doesn’t work, or if your symptoms get worse, you won’t have anyone to follow up with. You can return for another visit, but you will likely not see the same person and be required to pay another co-pay with no guarantee that you’ll feel better.

A Visit to Your Primary Care Office

You guessed it: this is the best place to start! By visiting your PCP, you’ll be able to see the doctor who knows you and your medical history and will best be able to diagnose and treat your symptoms. If things don’t go as planned, you can follow up with this same person who knows the story and ultimately find a treatment that works.

If you are a patient of Radish Health, you can even do all of this from the comfort of home, by chat or video. Usually a simple description of your symptoms and a quick photo by chat allow us to diagnose and treat, and we can stay in touch over the following days to make sure symptoms are improving. And as a Radish patient, you always have a primary doctor who is accessible to provide personalized care.

So What Should I Do?

Start with your primary care office, and as a Radish patient, simply chat with your primary doctor or schedule a video visit to discuss your symptoms. We’ll follow along to make sure you’re feeling better and can focus on everything else going on during this holiday season!

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