Top 5 Causes of a Blistery Rash


Rashes are a common occurrence among humans, although many people become concerned when a blistery rash emerges.  While unsightly and uncomfortable, these conditions are rarely serious and most generally do not require a doctor’s diagnosis.


There are many causes of a skin rash.  Often, an allergy is at the root of the problem in many cases; a situation that will ease once exposure to the allergen is removed.  But several other conditions will also produce the reddened, raised bumpy appearance that is associated with rashes.  They are not all similar; some are restricted to a small area while others spread over large areas of the body.  Some are dry and patchy; others are raw and weepy.  Some types of rashes develop small pustules filled with watery fluid or pus.  These are the rashes that cause the greatest consternation, as the fear of the blisters possibly being contagious worries not only the person with the rash but also anyone who may come into contact with them.  This can be a realistic worry in many cases of rashes that include blisters.


Five of the most common rashes featuring blisters that occur to individuals are contact dermatitis, chicken pox, coxsackie, impetigo and poison ivy. 


Contact dermatitis is a result of an overactive immune system and can occur to anyone.  Many diverse elements that are innocuous to most people can cause an itch and oozing rash in others.  Contact dermatitis is not contagious, since most individuals will not be affected by the offending item.  Some of the common causes of this condition are citric acid, cleaning solutions and certain chemicals.  The rash will only occur in areas on the body where direct contact has been made.  The rash may first appear as raised reddened bumps that can develop into tiny pimple like blisters.  It is easily avoidable once the culprit and the reaction is recognized, and also easily treated with hydrocortisone creams that are available over the counter.


A condition called Coxsackie is another rash exhibiting little blisters on the hands, feet and mouth; hence the nickname, “hand, foot and mouth” disease.  It is caused by a virus and, as with most viral diseases, it is contagious for a period before and after the rash appears.  Fever is common with coxsackie as are the fluid filled pimples that cover the area affected.


Likely the most familiar of all rash-producing conditions in children is chicken pox. In adults, the same type of symptoms can be experienced in shingles, which is produced by the same virus that causes chicken pox.  Small watery blisters spread over a large portion of the body in most cases of chicken pox, causing extreme itchy sensations and general discomfort.  There is no treatment for chicken pox, although a variety of preparations are available to ease the symptoms. 


Impetigo is another highly contagious condition in which a blistery rash develops on the affected individual.  Impetigo contagiosa is the most common version; beginning as a small sore that is filled with fluid that bursts to form a crust.  Rarely is any pain felt with these eruptions, although itching is generally experienced. 


While it can also be considered under the category of contact dermatitis, poison ivy deserves its own classification as an itchy, blistering condition.  Contagious to those who are susceptible to the irritating oils on the plant, poison ivy can continue to plague an individual as long as the blisters exist. 


Acquiring a rash is a common affliction among youth and adults alike.  While they may be unsightly, uncomfortable and at times contagious, a blistery rash is not usually serious and will not require a doctor’s care.