The Scoop on Skin Rashes

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 In Children

The Scoop on Skin Rashes

Rashes are extremely common in children. With so many different kinds of rashes and potential causes, parents may find it difficult to understand when there is a cause for concern.

“The majority of childhood rashes do not require immediate care,” says Rhonda McGuire, Family ER + Urgent Care Nurse Manager. “Most can be evaluated by your child’s pediatrician upon a scheduled visit. If parents are ever worried, though, it’s best to seek guidance from a medical professional.”

The most common rashes include:

  • Hives – these are welts that most often come and go over a period of minutes or hours due to an allergic reaction to foods, medications or external irritants such as detergent or grass, exposure to poison ivy, or as a result of a virus. Benadryl and over-the-counter cortisone are typically used as treatment. Hives are not life threatening unless your child exhibits signs of a severe allergic reaction; wheezing, difficulty breathing and persistent vomiting are indicative of a severe allergic reaction. If a child experiences any of these, seek medical treatment at an ER immediately.
  • Eczema – a skin condition caused by a genetic tendency and skin allergies to a variety of irritants or foods. This rash can be flat, dry and in white patches or raised, red and irritated during a flare up. Treatment for eczema should be discussed with a doctor.
  • Viral illness – the most common rash, which will show up on a child due to a variety of common viruses such as chicken pox, fifth disease, roseola and hand foot and mouth. If you suspect your child has chicken pox, a trip to the doctor is warranted.
  • Insect bites – extremely common, especially during summers in Texas. If your child develops several red bumps with a pinpoint hold in the middle, that’s probably what it is!
  • Heat rash – tiny red bumps or spots that appear due to sweat and heat. Air out the affected area or apply a cool washcloth.
  • Ringworm – a red, raised fungus that presents in the form of circles. Itching is common and can take several weeks to clear. Over-the-counter medication is needed.
  • Petechiae or purpura – both are caused by ruptured blood vessels under the skin. Signs and symptoms include spots that do not blanch when you press on them and spots they are completely flat. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect either.

For more information regarding childhood rashes, please visit the American Academy of Dermatology.

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