Children have sensitive skin that is often prone to rashes, redness, dryness, and other blemishes. Young children's and toddlers' tactile relationship with their environment makes them especially prone to unusual irritants and bacteria, and so they tend to get rashes more frequently than adults.
Though most rashes in children are not cause for concern and heal quickly, some skin reactions could indicate more serious disease. Use this guide to identify, prevent, and treat these five common childhood rashes:
Though most children in the United States (91.1%) were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella in 2016, it is still important for parents to recognize the measles rash, especially in infants too young to be vaccinated. Measles looks like red or brown blotches that begin in the head and neck region before spreading to the rest of the body. Measles is highly infectious and often accompanied by fever. Though it passes in about a week, children with measles need to see a doctor, and steps should be taken to prevent this highly infectious disease from spreading.
Chickenpox is a common viral illness in children that causes round, reddish welts and blisters to appear on the skin. Some children with chickenpox only develop a handful of red spots, while others end up with several dozen. The itchy spots eventually scab and fall off. There is little treatment that can prevent or shorten the duration of the illness, but fever-reducers and child-appropriate painkillers can help with symptoms.
- Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common illness that causes welts on hands and feet, and painful ulcers to develop under children's tongues. This illness is uncomfortable and can cause a fever. Though it only lasts about a week, children should be kept home to avoid spreading this contagious sickness. If swallowing becomes uncomfortable, try offering children soft foods along with fever-reducers and painkillers.
Eczema is a common chronic illness, and doctors are still not quite sure what causes it. Eczema causes itchiness, dryness, redness, and cracking in the skin, often around knees and behind the neck. Eczema is common in children and sometimes goes away in adulthood, but not always. Though it can't be prevented, eczema can be topically soothed with ointments recommended by dermatologists. Encourage children with eczema to avoid scratching to avoid infection.
Not a worm at all, ringworm is a fungus that causes a round, flaky, and itchy rash. Ringworm can appear almost anywhere but is common on arms and legs. Treating ringworm usually only requires a topical ointment, but ringworm on the scalp may require other medicines as well.
The skin is an incredible, quick-healing organ that renews itself every 28 days. Though most rashes in children are not serious, a quick trip to the doctor or pediatrician is best for a quick recovery and to limit the spread of the illness. With careful observation, parents can recognize and heal childhood rashes quickly.