Common childhood rashes
Here’s a guide to common childhood rashes.
What’s that rash?
Also called prickly heat, this rash, is a harmless but very itchy and can affect large areas of the body. It’s caused by a blockage and inflammation of sweat ducts during times of exposure to heat and high humidity and is very common in children.
Symptoms: It usually appears as tiny red pimples, bumps, or spots on the trunk.
Treatment: Cool your child off, and if they’re uncomfortable or itchy, apply calamine lotion or a similar prickly heat ointment.
Also called atomic dermatitis, is an extremely common inflammatory and non-infectious skin condition.
Symptoms: When this rash is mild it looks like flat, dry, white patches. During flare-ups it appears as red, irritated, raised patches.
Treatment: The most popular form of treatment is applying topical corticosteroids that help reduce inflammation and itchiness. Most topical corticosteroids are available on prescription. However, some milder strength is available from your pharmacy. Keeping skin from drying out can prevent further outbreaks.
It’s the scourge of the nappy wearer (and their parents) and its treatment the topic of many mum discussions. It’s caused by wearing poorly ventilated wee- and poo-filled nappies against their sensitive skin.
Symptoms: Red and inflamed skin around the bottom and genitals. Sometimes it can even look ulcerated.
Treatment: There are shelves of barrier creams at the chemist and supermarket. See which one works for you. And check out the Kid spot forums on what has worked for other mums.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This is a rash caused by a skin reaction to an allergen. It usually develops two or more days after contact with the allergen. It lasts as long as contact continues and for a short time afterwards (typically 1 to 2 weeks). Common causes include nickel, chemicals, plants, cosmetics, perfumes and ointments.
Symptoms: It’s an itchy and weeping rash localized to the area in contact with the allergic trigger.
Treatment: Find out what’s causing the reaction and keep away from it. The most common treatment for allergic contact dermatitis is a cortisone ointment preparation.
Symptoms: These can be more like hives, particularly with food allergies which tend to show up very soon after eating. A rash from a drug allergy may take longer to show up and can either be a severe or mild rash. Any reactions should be reported to your doctor.
Treatment: Any allergic reactions, either from food or medicines, should be reported to your doctor as they may become more severe on repeated exposure to allergens.
Also called “school sores”, this is a bacterial infection in the skin that can occur just about anywhere, but is most common around the mouth and nose.
Symptoms: Red, raised bumps or patches that become blisters which burst and produce a honey-colored crust on the surface.
Treatment: Impetigo can be treated with prescription antibiotic ointments or creams, which need to be reapplied until the sores have completely healed.
Common viral rashes
Any virus can give kids a rash but the ones we all know include chicken pox, measles, rubella, Fifth disease (also known as Slap cheek), scarlet fever and Roseola.
Symptoms: These viral rashes can have many different appearances, such as pimply or blister-like, raised or flat, bumps, spots, or blotches, and they often (but not always) start on the trunk, and then spread to the extremities.
Treatment: Most of these don’t require medications but they can all have complications. In the case of chicken pox, you will want to apply some calamine or put your child in a Piñatas bath because the blisters are extremely itchy. Many viruses are often accompanied by fevers which can be treated with paracetamol.