Information for Patients
Most of the time, medicines make our lives better. They reduce aches and pains, fight infections, and control problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But medicines can also cause unwanted reactions.
One problem is interactions, which may occur between
- Two drugs, such as aspirin and blood thinners
- Drugs and food, such as statins and grapefruit
- Drugs and supplements, such as ginkgo and blood thinners
- Drugs and diseases, such as aspirin and peptic ulcers
Interactions can change the actions of one or both drugs. The drugs might not work, or you could get side effects.
Side effects are unwanted effects caused by the drugs. Most are mild, such as a stomach aches or drowsiness, and go away after you stop taking the drug. Others can be more serious.
Drug allergies are another type of reaction. They can be mild or life-threatening. Skin reactions, such as hives and rashes, are the most common type. Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, is more rare.
When you start a new prescription or over-the-counter medication, make sure you understand how to take it correctly. Know which other medications and foods you need to avoid. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are itchy, red, painful, and irritated. Some rashes can also lead to blisters or patches of raw skin. Rashes are a symptom of many different medical problems. Other causes include irritating substances and allergies. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes.
Contact dermatitis is a common type of rash. It causes redness, itching, and sometimes small bumps. You get the rash where you have touched an irritant, such as a chemical, or something you are allergic to, like poison ivy.
Some rashes develop right away. Others form over several days. Although most rashes clear up fairly quickly, others are long-lasting and need long-term treatment.
Because rashes can be caused by many different things, it's important to figure out what kind you have before you treat it. If it is a bad rash, if it does not go away, or if you have other symptoms, you should see your health care provider. Treatments may include moisturizers, lotions, baths, cortisone creams that relieve swelling, and antihistamines, which relieve itching.