The skin is the largest organ in the body. In an adult it can cover an area of 2 square metres and present a multitude of clinical signs and symptoms.

For example, a rash is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED) and may be a sign of serious illness or systemic disease. Signs and symptoms can therefore be purely dermatological, or a manifestation of a systemic condition.

Dermatology can appear daunting because of the large number of different terms used to describe clinical findings, and because of clinical findings being the main part of the diagnostic process without further investigations.

There are also several rare, life-threatening conditions that may be missed by the emergency physician who is not familiar with them.

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