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Can You Catch that Rash? Skin Conditions You Need to Know About

Tim Boyer's picture
Rash Skin Condition

Do you ever find yourself with an urge to scratch your skin when you see someone else scratch a rash? Or while watching a movie showing a bug crawling on someone’s skin? While this response may be nothing more than a normal psychosomatic response, it shows an innate behavior to distance ourselves from disease and the diseased. Discover now some surprising truths about common skin conditions from Dr. Oz and find out which are contagious and which aren’t.

“Do you shy away from someone scratching a rash, worried that their skin problem will become your skin problem? The big question is—is it really contagious?” asks Dr. Oz as he tells viewers that knowing the difference is important to your health.

Skin Rash Condition #1: Psoriasis

Although a quite alarming appearing skin condition with its raised reddened welts covered with flaking silvery-white scaly dead epithelial cells, psoriasis is a normal skin condition that Dr. Oz assures viewers is not contagious. While it is often found on the back of the head and the scalp, psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body and is typically treated with ointments to reduce the underlying swelling and inflammation as well relieve the itching sensation.

Psoriasis cannot be transmitted from one person to another. According to Dr. Oz it is believed to have a genetic component to it where some people will eventually and repeatedly develop psoriasis during their life.

Skin Rash Condition #2: Impetigo

Often mistaken for a herpes-derived cold sore, impetigo is nevertheless another type of skin condition that like the herpes-derived cold sore is highly contagious.

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“It’s a rash that appears on the face—often around the nose and the mouth. It can develop into red sores that rupture with some white fluid, and they form a sort of crusty appearance to it after a couple of days,” says Dr. Oz.

Dr. Oz explains that the rash-forming impetigo is caused by a strain of bacteria that is transmitted from someone who already has it to another person who has a small break in their skin. One of the jobs of skin is to protect the inner body from bacterial infection. So, if you have cracked skin around the mouth and lips, bacteria can enter your body and cause infection. Dr. Oz states that one common source of this kind of infection is not from kissing, but from using a shared towel that people use to wipe their face with and cause spread of the bacteria.

Dr. Oz recommends that if someone you live with has impetigo that you must be careful not to touch their linens and towels, and ensure that dirty laundry is washed thoroughly.

Skin Rash Condition #3: Poison Ivy

“Poison ivy is not contagious and a lot of people are surprised by that,” says Dr. Oz as he explains that rashes caused by contact with some plants―like poison ivy―are due to an oil on the leaves that acts as a skin irritant. Reaction to the oil may take a few hours after exposure and can last up to 2 days.

Why some people believe it is contagious is because it is not uncommon for more than one family member to come down with the rash. This is typically due to a cross transfer of the plant oil via clothing worn while gardening or hiking and coming into contact with other family member’s skin and clothing. If you work in a garden or go camping and suspect that you may have come in contact with poison ivy or a related plant, be sure to separate your clothing from further contact and wash thoroughly and pre-apply some natural poison ivy remedies to your skin.

For an informative article on one wildflower that can cause serious and long-lasting skin condition that you will want to stay away from, click-on the titled link, “Summer Vacation Contact with Little Known Wildflower Can Damage Your Skin for Years.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show