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Rashes are a common occurrence during childhood. While most rashes are fairly innocent and harmless, there are some that require more intervention. How can you decipher which is which?
Common rashes you’ll encounter during your child’s life are most likely viral rashes. You may have heard of a few of these types of rashes – Roseola, Fifth’s disease, or Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. These are rashes that we can typically identify because of their unique distribution on the body. Although most other viral rashes can’t definitively be named at the time of diagnosis, they can be simply identified as viral, and, as such, will resolve on their own. Additionally, your child may have fever, cold symptoms, and decreased appetite for a few days leading up to the rash, which often appears after these symptoms improve.
The typical viral rash does not cause significant discomfort to most children. An exception would be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. This rash can be painful. This is typically the case for older children – and it’s mostly soreness from blisters on the palms and soles of feet. If a viral rash is bothersome – either itchy or painful, the child can be treated as needed with an anti-itch medicine or a pain reliever.
Rashes may sometimes require more intervention. Symptoms can include extreme itchiness, crusting or oozing from the rash, or sensitivity to touch. These can usually be caused by bacteria which require an antibiotic, viruses that require an antiviral medication or steroid medication, or rashes that are a reaction to either an infection or to your child’s own immune system.
A very common example of a rash of this type is called Impetigo. It is caused by bacteria that thrive in the Gulf Coast’s warm, humid environment, and can mimic a scab at first – but then rapidly expands to multiple ‘scabs.’ It typically will at least require an antibiotic ointment, but sometimes requires an oral antibiotic as well. Herpes or fever blisters are another type of rash, that might cause intervention such as an antiviral medication. These usually occur on mucous membranes such as the mouth or even the eyes.
If you ever have any concern about a rash your child develops, direct any questions to your child’s pediatrician.