A viral rash is one that occurs due to a viral infection. It can itch, sting, burn, or hurt. The appearance of viral skin rashes can vary. They may appear in the form of welts, red blotches, or small bumps, and they might develop only on one part of the body or become widespread.
Viral skin infections are a common presentation in primary care. This review describes some of the most common viral skin infections, namely varicella zoster (chickenpox), herpes zoster (shingles), molluscum contagiosum and roseola.
What viruses cause skin problems?
2. Viral skin infections
- shingles (herpes zoster)
- Molluscum contagiosum.
- hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Some examples of viral skin infections include herpes simplex (cold sores and genital herpes), herpes zoster (shingles), warts, and molluscum contagiosum.
The characteristics of viral rashes can vary greatly. However, most look like splotchy red spots. These spots might come on suddenly or appear gradually over several days.
The best way to identify a viral rash is to check for any symptoms of a viral infection, such as:
- body aches.
A Visual Guide to Viral Rashes
- Chickenpox. 1 / 15. Everyone knows about this viral rash. …
- Shingles. 2 / 15. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lives on inside your body. …
- Molluscum Contagiosum. 3 / 15. …
- Fifth Disease. 4 / 15. …
- Cold Sores. 5 / 15. …
- Genital Herpes. 6 / 15. …
- Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease. 7 / 15. …
- Rubella. 8 / 15.
Is there such a thing as a skin virus?
Viral Skin Infections
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes either single or multiple raised, pearl-like bumps (papules) on the skin. Shingles (herpes zoster) results from a reactivation of the virus that also causes chickenpox.
A single lesion often persists for 1-2 months, but the mean duration of infection is 8 months. Lesions last longer in immunocompromised patients and can indicate advancing immunosuppression. Scarring is not common after resolution.
Are skin viruses contagious?
Most contagious rashes spread from person to person by direct contact. Many of the rashes are itchy and spread when an infected individual scratches the rash and then touches or scratches another individual who is not yet infected.
Unlike an allergic reaction, viral rashes usually do not cause itching or pain. Viral rashes usually go away after a few days, but may last up to 2 weeks. Antibiotics are not used to treat viral rashes.
Viral infections include:
- the common cold, which mainly occurs due to rhinovirus, coronavirus, and adenovirus.
- encephalitis and meningitis, resulting from enteroviruses and the herpes simplex virus (HSV), as well as West Nile Virus.
- warts and skin infections, for which HPV and HSV are responsible.