Skin Ailments

Skin Ailments and Conditions

Skin, the largest organ of your body, can sometimes be quite troublesome. Itchy and dry skin can make you feel like scratching, while blisters, rashes, and painful sores can be incredibly uncomfortable.

At Vital Urgent Care, we understand that an annoying itch just can't wait. That's why we offer convenient hours to help ease your discomfort. We treat a range of skin conditions that cause dry, itchy skin, blisters, rashes, and sores. Some common conditions we handle include cellulitis, eczema, impetigo, poison ivy/oak/sumac, ringworm, and shingles.

Let's dive into cellulitis. It's a common bacterial skin infection that occurs when bacteria enter a break in the skin and spread. While cellulitis can manifest anywhere on your body, it's most prevalent on exposed parts like the lower legs, hands, arms, and face.

Symptoms of cellulitis include expanding or streaking redness in the skin, swollen and tender skin, areas of warmth, and red, blotchy skin that may blister or dimple. Seek immediate emergency care if you have a rapidly changing rash or if it's swollen and painful, accompanied by a fever.

To diagnose cellulitis, your medical team at Vital Urgent Care will examine the affected area and may perform a blood test or take a sample to test for bacteria that caused the condition. Treatment options depend on the severity of your symptoms and may include oral antibiotics. Stay in touch with your healthcare professional as the infection heals and responds to medication.

At home, you can alleviate cellulitis symptoms by elevating the affected area to reduce swelling and applying a cold, damp cloth to reduce pain.

Now, let's talk about eczema. Derived from a Greek word meaning "to boil over," eczema refers to a group of noncontagious conditions that cause red, itchy, and inflamed skin. There are several types of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. Each type causes itching, redness, and some may cause blistering, "weeping," or peeling of the skin.

While eczema is a common skin ailment, affecting more than 31 million Americans, it is highly manageable. Symptoms of eczema include itchy skin, dry red areas, red to brownish-grey patches, small raised bumps that can leak fluid and crust when scratched, and raw, sensitive, swollen skin.

To diagnose eczema, our medical team may check your skin, inquire about your medical history and any family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever, or asthma.

Treatment for mild eczema involves washing with mild soap, using moisturizer to prevent dryness, avoiding long, hot showers or baths, managing stress, and using a humidifier to keep the air moist. For more severe cases, various therapies such as antihistamines, prescription topical medications like corticosteroid creams, and systemic corticosteroids may be recommended.

We're here to provide comprehensive care for your skin ailments at Vital Urgent Care.

Impetigo is a highly contagious infection caused by either strep (streptococcus) or staph (staphylococcus) bacteria. It manifests as red sores that can rupture and form a yellow-brown crust. Although usually painless, they can cause itching. While commonly affecting children, adults can also be susceptible due to the vulnerability of skin sores to bacterial infection.

Symptoms of impetigo include small red spots that develop into blisters, typically found around the nose, mouth, hands, forearms, and diaper areas in infants and toddlers. These blisters break open, ooze fluid, and form crusts. The sores can increase in size and spread.

To diagnose impetigo, our medical team will conduct a thorough examination of your skin and gather a comprehensive medical history. In some cases, a culture may be taken by swabbing a sore, which will be sent to a lab for testing.

Treatment for impetigo involves antibiotics, either in the form of a prescription topical cream or oral medication. Typically, children can return to school 24 hours after starting treatment. At home, you can alleviate symptoms by gently washing the sores with soap and water, avoiding scratching, and ensuring thorough handwashing after applying creams or washing the rash to prevent further spread.

Now, let's talk about poison ivy, oak, and sumac. These plants, found in different regions, all contain urushiol, an oil responsible for the itchy rash that develops upon contact. The rash, which can turn into painful blisters, usually appears one to two days after exposure and lasts for one to two weeks. It's important to note that the rash itself is not contagious, but the oil can adhere to clothing and objects, potentially causing another rash if not properly washed.

Symptoms of poison ivy, oak, and sumac include itchy skin, redness, hives, swelling, blister outbreaks, and crusting skin from scratching. If you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, a rash covering most of your body, numerous rashes or blisters, significant swelling (especially in the eyelids), or persistent and unbearable itching, seek immediate medical attention.

Diagnosing poison ivy, oak, or sumac typically involves examining the rash, and laboratory testing is often unnecessary.

Treatment for these rashes usually involves self-care, as they tend to subside within one to three weeks. However, severe reactions may require prescription medication such as topical or systemic steroids. In cases where an infection develops, antibiotics may also be prescribed. To alleviate itching, consider rinsing the affected area with lukewarm, soapy water, washing any items that may have come into contact with the plants, taking short baths with colloidal oatmeal or baking soda, and using calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Cool compresses can also provide relief.

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm, also known as tinea corporis or tinea manuum, is not caused by worms despite its name. It is a contagious skin infection caused by a fungus, characterized by a raised, ring-shaped rash. While it can affect any part of the body, the ring-shaped pattern is typically absent on the palms, soles, groin, and nails.

One of the most common forms of ringworm is athlete's foot (tinea pedis), which puts athletes at a higher risk. The fungi that cause ringworm thrive in tropical areas and during hot, humid summers. These fungi also flourish in warm, moist environments such as locker rooms and indoor pools, putting anyone in those spaces at an increased risk.

Ringworm can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. The fungi can also survive on infected objects like clothing, brushes, and sports equipment for extended periods.

Symptoms of Ringworm

  • Ring-shaped, flat patches on the skin with a raised, scaly border.
  • A red rash on light skin or a brown/gray rash on dark skin, often accompanied by swelling.
  • Infected skin can be intensely itchy and painful, although not always.
  • Skin may flake, peel, and crack.
  • Itching, burning, and stinging sensations on the soles of the feet and between the toes.
  • Foul foot odor in the case of athlete's foot.
  • Discoloration and thickening of toenails or fingernails.

Diagnosing Ringworm

To diagnose ringworm, our medical team may examine the affected area as well as other parts of your body, as the infection can spread. In some cases, a sample of the infected skin, hair, or nail may be collected and sent to a lab for confirmation of the fungi causing the ringworm.

Treating Ringworm

Ringworm is treated with antifungal medication available in various forms such as creams, ointments, and pills. The type of medication prescribed depends on the area of the body requiring treatment.

If applying medication directly to the affected area, be sure to wash your hands immediately afterward to prevent the spread of ringworm to other parts of your body.

It is important to complete the full course of antifungal medication as prescribed to ensure the infection clears completely and to prevent potential complications.

What is Shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The rash typically appears as a strip of blisters on either the right or left side of the torso, although it can occur anywhere on the body. In some cases, involvement of the nerves of the eye may indicate a more urgent condition, particularly if the tip of the nose is affected.

Shingles is caused by the same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox. After recovering from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body and can reactivate due to triggers such as stress or certain medications. In many cases, the exact cause of reactivation is unknown.

Shingles is not contagious to those who have had chickenpox but can transmit the varicella-zoster virus to individuals who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles is most common in adults and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of Shingles

  • Pain, burning, or numbness are usually the initial symptoms.
  • Typically affects only one side of the body.
  • Red, itchy rash that appears a few days after the onset of pain.
  • The rash develops into fluid-filled blisters that can break open and form crusts.

Diagnosing Shingles

To diagnose shingles, our medical team at Vital Urgent Care will conduct a comprehensive medical history review and physical examination. The distinctive symptoms of shingles, particularly the rash on one side of the body, often allow for a diagnosis without the need for laboratory tests.

Treating Shingles

If you suspect you may have shingles, seek medical care as soon as possible. Early treatment is most effective in managing shingles.

The treatment of shingles typically involves a combination of medication and home care. Prescription antiviral medications can help the rash heal faster and reduce the risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia, a condition characterized by chronic pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also provide relief.

During the healing process, it is important to avoid scratching the rash, apply cool and moist compresses to the blisters, and use baking soda to aid in drying and healing.


1 National Eczema Association: Eczema: Back to Basics. Accessed: March 15, 2023.

2 National Eczema Association: What is Eczema? Accessed: March 15, 2023.

Access to

Urgent Care

when you need it most

Book an Appointment

To Top