First Aid: Rashes

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First Aid

Rashes can be caused by viruses, bacteria, medications, heat, allergies, and many other things. Many are only a minor annoyance, but some can be serious and require medical treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

  • redness
  • spots on the skin
  • scaly skin
  • itchiness
  • bumps
  • blisters
  • pimples

What to Do

To ease discomfort:

  • add a few cups of oatmeal to the bath
  • pat the skin dry (instead of rubbing) after a bath or shower
  • avoid scrubbing or scratching the affected skin
  • leave the rash exposed to the air as much as possible

Seek Medical Care

If:

  • your child also has a fever
  • your child looks ill
  • there are tiny red dots that cannot be felt when touched and don't fade when pressed
  • there are bruises not related to injuries
  • there is no improvement after a week

Think Prevention!

Most rashes are difficult to avoid. However, some specific rashes can be prevented:

  • Have kids avoid people with contagious skin rashes.
  • For allergic rashes, try to avoid the substance that causes the reaction.
  • Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
  • If your child tends to get eczema flare-ups, avoid harsh soaps.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014



Related Resources

OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Dermatology Provides up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.
OrganizationNational Eczema Association This site contains information about eczema, dermatitis, and sensitive skin.


Related Articles

Fifth Disease Especially common in kids between the ages of 5 and 15, fifth disease is a viral illness that produces a distinctive red rash on the face, body, arms, and legs.
Molluscum Contagiosum Molluscum contagiosum is a common wart-like viral skin infection. For most children, the rash is no big deal and goes away on its own over time.
Shingles Shingles isn't very common in kids - it mostly affects older people. Find out what causes shingles, symptoms to watch for, and what to do if your child has it.
Erythema Multiforme By the looks of the "bulls-eye" marks this rash leaves on the skin, you might think it's cause for concern. But erythema multiforme clears up on its own within a few weeks.
Pityriasis Rosea This harmless rash often forms a telltale "Christmas tree" pattern on the back that makes it easy to identify.
Eczema Eczema can be an itchy nuisance and cause scratching that makes the problem worse. Fortunately, more than half of the kids who have eczema today will be over it by the time they're teenagers.
A to Z Symptoms: Rash A rash is an area of irritated, bumpy, painful, or swollen skin. Most aren't harmful or dangerous.
Erythema Toxicum Erythema toxicum is a common harmless rash that appears in at least half of all full-term infants. No treatment is needed and it goes away on its own.
Diaper Rash Diaper rash is a very common infection that can cause a baby's skin to become sore, red, scaly, and tender. In most cases, it clears up with simple changes in diapering.
Poison Ivy About 60% to 80% of all people get a reaction to poison ivy. Check out this article for tips on what to do and how to avoid poison ivy.
Hives (Urticaria) Has your child broken out in welts? It could be a case of the hives. Learn how to soothe itchy bumps and help your child feel better.
First Aid: Skin Infections Skin infections are common during childhood. Here's what to do if your child has a skin infection.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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