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Red rash below armpits while having cold or flu. What could be the reason?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 8479 Questions
Everytime I get a cold or a flu, I get a large round red rash below my armpits on both arms. The rash is not hot, not itchy, smooth and blanches when pressed. They are oval, about 6 inches in diameter and the outline is darker red. There is no red dot in the center. They usually last 7 days after appearing. Only following cold or flu. This has been going on for about 5 years or so. I have taken some pictures. Otherwise, healthy.
Posted Mon, 2 Dec 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 22 minutes later
Brief Answer: viral exanthem Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic It is called viral exanthem. This is a rash that can occur with viral illnesses. It is more common in children but can occur in adults as well. It occurs with a number of viral illnesses including the common cold or flu virus. There are at least 7 viruses that can cause the common cold- rhinovirus, RSV, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, echovirus. These viruses and the flu can cause a rash along with the other cough and cold symptoms. It normally resolves soon after the illness resolves and does not have any longterm effects. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
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Follow-up: Red rash below armpits while having cold or flu. What could be the reason? 51 minutes later
Thank you for your reply. I've never heard of this or don't know anyone else who reacts this way to viruses or colds. These rashes always appear after a cold or flu, without fail. Would you know why I get these rashes and not other people? Would it have anything to do with my immune system? Is there anything I should worry about? Thank you
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 7 hours later
Brief Answer: does not mean immunity impaired Detailed Answer: Hi It is more common to see this reaction in children but it can rarely occur with adults as well. They usually result from either a reaction to a toxin produced by the infecting virus, damage to the skin by the virus itself or as part of the immune response. Because everyone processes infections differently or have different immune responses , the symptom would be present in one person and not the other. It is the same reason that one member of a household may have certain symptoms of the cold however when it is transmitted to another household member the symptoms are not the same, the immune response is different. It does not imply that your immune response is faulty or there is a deficit. As mentioned even though this rash is common in children, some children may have repeated colds and never have an exanthem whereas others have them commonly There is nothing to worry about as it relates to this
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