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Rashes in adults and children: A guide for primary care nurses

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Patients with eczema typically present Patients with eczema typically present with acutely blistered patches on the skin

Rashes are extremely common and can affect people of all ages. They can be troublesome in adults distressing for parents and family members when they occur in babies and young children. Many rashes share similarities in appearance and symptoms making diagnosis problematic. Because of their prevalence it is likely that nurses and nurse prescribers will see patients in their clinics asking for treatment and advice. This article therefore hopes to give an overview of some of the more commonly seen rashes with the aim of increasing confidence in making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment for patients.


This is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus and is most prevalent in children under the age of ten, with over 90% of cases occurring in this age group. It is generally, a mild disease, but can be fatal in neonates and the immunocompromised, and has more serious consequences in adults. Spread occurs by transmission from person to person by breathing in infected respiratory droplets via sneezing or coughing, or less commonly through contact with weeping spots.

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