Children get rashes frequently during childhood. They can be caused by a number of things, including allergies, dryness, infections, irritation, and poor hygiene. Some parents are concerned when they notice a rash and wonder if it should be considered a problem or not. It's also hard to describe a rash well to an on-call nurse, so many parents set appointments with the doctor just in case.
Here are some common facts about rashes that can help you know if the rash just needs some at-home TLC, or if the rash indicates a deeper problem that needs medication.
Most parent treat a new rash with an at home remedy. Some redness could just be from dry skin or a bit of irritation from a diaper or harsh soaps. A bit of hydrating cream and the rash goes away. However, some rashes have staying power, and if they don't go away with the use of some cream, a little allergy medication, or some over-the-counter steroid cream, it's time to see a doctor.
Another way to assess the danger of a rash is how wide spread it is. A little redness behind an ear or over the chest is not usually a concern, but if the rash appears suddenly and covers the majority of the child's body, it's best to get medical care. Whole body rashes are not likely to be caused by mild irritants, bug bites, or even eczema. They are more likely to be a serious allergic reaction or some sort of infection.
Some rashes, especially those that are caused by simple dryness, don't move around. They appear in one place and stay there until the problem is resolved. However, mobile rashes are more concerning. These show that the rash is affecting more than one area of the body, so it's not something topical that is making the skin coloration change. Some moving rashes are indicative of rare disease, like rheumatic fever, that can affect the nerves and heart. It's better to be safe than sorry and get any rash that moves around checked out as soon as possible.
Some rashes can cause itchiness or even mild discomfort, but they should not be painful to the touch. If your child is in a lot of pain and has a rash, take them to the doctor for assessment. Most harmless rashes will not cause a strong pain response.
Fever and Other Symptoms
Any rash accompanied by a high fever is concerning. For example, measles presents with a rash and a fever, and early treatment is essential in helping your child weather the disease. it's also important to report the case to help prevent the spread of disease. Other rashes can present with serious infections, including meningitis. Other symptoms to be concerned about include sore joints, muscles stiffness, cough, lethargy, and reduced appetite. The flu can also present with a rash.
Additional or Progressing Skin Problems
What looks like a basic red mark can actually turn into a terrible skin condition. If a rash only appears to get worse, it's time to see the doctor. You should be very concerned if you notice blisters appearing, especially near the eyes or around the mouth. Sometimes a rash can form around a nick or cut, and this is also concerning, because it shows infection. Any rash that progresses to show more symptoms on the skin itself (darkening in color, forming scabs, flaking off) requires medical attention.
For more information on rashes in children, contact a local primary care family practice. They can provide more information on proper skin care for children.