A macular rash is a skin rash which presents in the form of a number of small, flat red spots. It can appear anywhere on the body, and it may be caused by a variety of things, from allergic reactions to certain medications. Many macular rashes clear up on their own within two weeks, but the rash can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical problem, so it is a good idea to see a dermatologist or a doctor for treatment when this type of rash appears. A doctor can determine the cause and make treatment recommendations.
In some cases, a macular rash combines flat reddened spots with raised reddened areas, in which case it is known as a macularpapular rash. The rash may feel itchy or hot, or the patient may not experience any sensations at the site, depending on the cause of the skin eruption. When a doctor provides treatment, he or she will usually want to know when the rash appeared, and if it has changed in size or shape. Doctors may also collect general information about the patient's lifestyle and habits to narrow down causes.
Autoimmune responses can cause this type of rash, as can diseases like syphilis, rheumatic fever, or measles. Certain drugs are known for causing this type of rash as a side effect, and macular rashes can also appear in response to skin irritation such as sunburn or contact with poisonous plants. In some cases, there may be no clear cause for the rash, in which case a doctor may request some medical tests like bloodwork to understand the patient's general physical condition.
Various topical preparations can be used to soothe a rash and to help it resolve more quickly. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be administered to the patient with the goal of reducing the inflammation associated with the rash. The patient may also be advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing to avoid irritating the rash, and additional steps such as baths with baking soda or other additives may be recommended.
If a macular rash appears, it is not usually a medical emergency, but people should get treatment as soon as possible. If the rash appears in conjunction with life-threatening allergic reactions, high fever, or other severe symptoms, it is advisable to take the patient to the emergency room for immediate treatment. When taking a patient for emergency treatment, it helps to bring along the medications the patient is currently taking, and to have as much information as possible about the patient's activities in the last 24-48 hours. If the patient has existing medical conditions such as allergies, these should also be disclosed.