The following is an article written for HomeEverAfter.com by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H., publisher of James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor Magazine, the magazine written by health-care professionals. Dr. Hubbard was recently awarded the Top Health Blogger distinction by WellSphere.
7 Common Rashes in Kids
Odds are your child will have a rash at some time and you’ll worry. Fortunately, most rashes are treatable or just go away without complications. Here are seven of the most common rashes, starting with three viral infections.
1. Erythema Infectiosum, better known as fifth disease because it was number five of the “usual childhood diseases,” behind measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. Now we vaccinate against the others. This one occurs between ages 5 and 15. I like seeing this one because by the time the rash is evident, the child is over the virus, feeling well and not contagious. However it is very contagious when it starts (with a fever and cold symptoms) and tends to run amok through daycare centers. The fever and symptoms last about a week. The child feels fine, then the cheeks get bright red (it’s also called slapped cheek syndrome) and a lacy rash covers the body. For a couple of days it looks like someone has dropped red lace and stained the body. Stay away if pregnant.
2. Roseola also starts with a fever for a few days followed by a rash. In fact, it’s sometimes called sixth disease. This rash starts on the trunk and migrates outward, consisting of small, flat or slightly raised pink lesions. Kids usually get roseola before age 2. It’s highly common and contagious.
3. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. When the coxsackie virus causes a rash, it’s known as hand, foot and mouth disease. The rash consists of painful blisters in the mouth, tongue, palms and soles. There’s usually a high fever, and eating or drinking may be a problem due to the mouth pain.
4. Scarlet fever is strep throat with a rash. Usually there’s fever, sore throat and tiny red bumps over the body that feel like fine sandpaper. This one needs antibiotics.
5. Allergic reactions may cause urticaria or whelps. They’re raised, slightly colored and various sizes. They need medical attention.
6. Scabies is caused by a tiny mite you can’t see that burrows underneath the skin and causes much itching. The tiny red spots usually start on the hands, arms or in creases of skin. This is one of the few rashes that occur in between your knuckles. Scabies is contagious for all ages and requires treatment.
7. Petichiae are not common but notable because they warrant emergency medical attention. The rash is tiny red splotches in a child usually already sick. They are leaky capillaries under the skin and require immediate medical attention since internal capillaries are leaking, also. The only time they’re benign is if someone has been vomiting or coughing really hard and develops some locally around the face.
If you found this edition of the Health Corner useful, get more great medical information, blogs, articles and tips from your friendly family doctor by signing up for the My Family Doctor RSS feed or free email updates.
Rash photo by webchicken.