Contagious skin rashes in adults

Updated February 21, 2017

Rashes can be irritatingly painful, itchy and embarrassing. There are several contagious rashes that can infect adults. The best way to avoid catching a contagious rash is by practicing good hygiene and using extra caution around infected people.

Hot Tub Rash

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults and children can catch a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, more commonly known as Hot Tub Rash, from poorly maintained hot tubs, spas or pools. This germ can cause a bumpy rash all over the body, and it may be particularly severe in areas that are covered by a swimsuit because of prolonged exposure.


Impetigo is a contagious rash that can spread when a person comes in contact with the fluid from the rash of an infected person. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults may also experience this rash after having a respiratory infection or another skin disease.


Scabies is a parasitical infection. It is caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin and release toxins, which can cause a pimple-like rash to appear. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, scabies is spread by person-to-person contact or by sharing a bed or items of clothing with an infected person.


Chickenpox is often thought of as a childhood disease, but adults who have never had chickenpox can still catch it. The CDC reports that adults in particular are more likely to experience a severe case of chickenpox, which may lead to hospitalisation or even death.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is viral infection of the skin that results in a rash that appears as small, pink lumps or bumps on the skin. It is spread through person-to-person contact or by coming into contact with items that an infected person used on the rash, such as a towel. According to the CDC, this is a mild skin infection that will normally clear up on its own.

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About the Author

Sophie Stillwell has been writing professionally since 1992. She is published in "The Gorham Times" newspaper, "Private Colleges & Universities" magazine, on eHow and in several other publications. She has experience working as a paralegal, antiques dealer and neurobehavioral coach. Her writing topics frequently include frugal living, pets and health. Stillwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Southern Maine.