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8/29/19blog post

what is this rash?

Redness, itchiness, bumps, oh my! While most rashes may not be harmful, they sure can be irritating. So what causes rashes anyway? What if your child’s rash is serious and needs medical treatment? And what should you do if your child comes and shows you their new, mysterious rash?

“Rashes can be caused by so many different things, that it may seem overwhelming to determine the culprit,” says Lisa Ziemnik, MD, program director of Dayton Children’s urgent care and Kids Express. “Medical conditions, allergies, infections, bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites can all be the cause of your child’s rash. Often, the cause may not be known. But you’ll see rashes have the following signs and symptoms”:

-spots on the skin
-scaly skin

So, if you don’t know what caused the rash, what do you do?

Treatment, when needed, will depend on the most likely cause of the rash.  A doctor will try to identify any triggers to rashes such as insect bites, foods, substances, medicines, or newly used products, but many rashes still may remain somewhat a mystery. If any trigger is identified the doctor will recommend avoiding it in the future. Many fungal skin infections (like ringworm and athlete's foot) can be treated with over-the-counter topical antifungal creams and sprays. Itchiness often can be managed with home care like oatmeal baths, cold compresses, anti-itch creams, or calamine lotion. More severe cases might be treated with an antihistamine (either as a liquid or pill) to decrease itching and redness.

To ease discomfort from a rash, parents can:

-add a few cups of oatmeal to a bath
-do not give as warm a bath as normal because it can make itching worse and make the rash look worse
-pat your kid’s skin dry (instead of rubbing) after a bath or shower
-don't scrub or scratch the affected skin
-leave the rash exposed to the air as much as possible

Also, keep in mind that many rashes can be itchy, but it's important to try not to scratch them. Scratching can make a rash take longer to heal and can lead to infection or scarring.

Parents should seek medical care if:

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

Some rashes may be mysterious and can be hard to avoid. Some types can be prevented with the following steps:

-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 gets eczema flare-ups, avoid harsh soaps.