In This Section      

Johns Hopkins Health - Should I See a Doctor for This Rash?

Spring 2013
Issue No. 20

Should I See a Doctor for This Rash?

Date: April 19, 2013


It’s the season for getting back into gardening or simply spending more time outdoors. It’s the season, too, for poison ivy and other causes of contact dermatitis. Though over-the-counter products are within reach at the local drugstore, be cautious when self-medicating.

“Using topical anesthetics [these usually end in -caine] and antihistamines can cause an allergic reaction,” says William H. Convey, M.D., ABFM, a family medicine physician at Johns Hopkins. “Witch hazel and calamine are OK [for most skin reactions], but for severe, uncomfortable rashes or those that persist for more than a week, see your doctor. We can prescribe a medicine that takes care of it much more effectively.”

Find more questions answered by Johns Hopkins experts and others at, a website designed to simplify your search for quality information on topics of health and wellness.

Related Services