Comforting Patients with Rashes
by Margaret A. Fitzgerald, MS, RN, CS- FNP

When seeing someone with a rash, show the patient how their rash matches the picture in a derm book and review etiology and treatment. This can be very reassuring to the patient that your assessment is accurate, and they leave with a better idea of the course of the illness and treatment. Case in point: 13 year old with a rather unusual distribution of poison ivy (genitals and facial) after using a leaf to stop a nose bleed then urinating, spreading the plant oils! He and his parents felt much better after seeing that this really did look like the poison ivy rash.

Added bonusó I was able to show him, again from the derm book, what the poison ivy plant looks like so he can avoid this in the future. Another patient with erythema multiform was most relieved, after seeing pictures in a derm book, to find that she is not the first person on Earth to have such a rash!

Last updated:  September 25, 2000


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