What Does That Rash On Your Neck Mean?

What does that rash on your neck mean? It might simply mean you shouldn't be wearing the new wool shirt you got for Christmas. Or, it may mean you need to replace the blade in your razor with one that hasn't become dull. A rash on your neck can be there for many reasons. A neck rash is usually temporary, and it is something that can often be avoided once you know what caused it in the first place. It is seldom a severe condition, even though it may often be accompanied by itching.

Most of the time, a rash on your neck is something you don't need to be particularly concerned about. A soothing lotion may be the only treatment required, if indeed the rash does require any treatment. Wearing a silk scarf might be in order if clothing is the cause. We know that wool can sometimes itch and cause a rash, but one can also be allergic to other materials.

There may come a time though when a rash on your neck takes on a different meaning. If there doesn’t appear to be an obvious reason for the rash, in other words there's nothing you have done or worn that would cause such a rash, there could be an underlying cause that might need to be looked into.

An Underlying Disorder A Possibility

The neck rash you should pay some attention to would be one that is the result of an infections disease. Usually when that is the case there will be other symptoms as well, but there can be times when a neck rash is the first or only symptom that is noticeable. The more common diseases in which a neck rash is likely to appear include measles, chickenpox, and shingles. Obviously, if one is suffering from one of these diseases the reason for the neck rash is well understood, and is probably the least of one's concerns. Ringworm is another cause, as is folliculitis, the infection of a hair follicle. A neck rash can sometimes be one of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition brought on by an allergic reaction. Another serious condition that often leads to a rash on the neck, usually a rash made up of purplish spots, is bacterial meningitis. When this is the case, the rash is usually accompanied by a high fever. In somewhat rare cases a neck rash can result from what is called a toxic epidermal necrolysis. This is a very serious condition in which skin loss can occur, and is usually due to a severe reaction to medication.

In short, a rash on your neck can be due to simple irritation, an infection, an allergic reaction, heat, and even stress. Abuse of certain drugs, most prominently methamphetamine, as well as certain medications, can be the underlying cause of a rash.

Could Be Jewelry, Or A Detergent

A fairly common cause of a neck rash is jewelry worn around the neck. This is most likely to occur if the jewelry in question contains nickel, a metal known to cause a reaction in some people. Detergents can cause an allergic reaction. For example, when residue is left in a shirt collar because it was not rinsed properly after washing. If that cotton shirt you often wear suddenly gives you a neck rash, it's probably not the cotton material; it's more likely a detergent that's to blame.

When To See The Doctor

When might it be advisable to see a doctor if you have a rash on your neck? The answer can depend upon a number of things, one being whether or not there are additional symptoms present. If the rash is accompanied by a fever, shortness of breath, or general discomfort, it will be best to get seek medical attention promptly. Other factors to consider, and factors a doctor would likely ask about, would be whether the rash came about slowly or appeared suddenly. A doctor might ask if it the rash has occurred before, and if so when and how often has it occurred before. It might also be helpful in diagnosing the problem to remember what you were doing around the time, or just before, you first noticed the rash.

Even if a rash is not symptomatic of a serious underlying condition, it’s important to avoid scratching it, as this can lead to complications such as a bacterial or fungal infection, open lesions, and in some cases, scarring.

How does one go about treating a neck rash? That depends upon the cause. If the cause is simple irritation, from clothing or a detergent for example, the rash is most easily treated by something as simple as a cold water bath, or by applying a baking soda or oatmeal compress. If the cause is due to an allergy, an over-the counter-medicine such as Benadryl is often effective. Hydrocortisone cremes also can often provide fast relief. Even if the rash does not appear to be due to anything serious, if would be best to seek medical advice if it persists for several days or does not respond to home medication.