Though they make look disturbing and make your child uncomfortable, childhood rashes are very common and can be caused by a number of factors. The good news is that many of them are easy to treat and  won't put your child in any danger.

Common Rashes

Most rashes can be addressed at home, although a few types could require a trip to your pediatrician. It often depends on whether the rash is caused by a skin irritation or by some type of illness.  Here are five rashes kids commonly get, along with some tips on how to treat them:

1. Contact Dermatitis: Usually appears as a red, irritated section of skin or small red bumps and can be quite itchy. It's caused by a wide variety of things that can bother your child's skin, including soap, detergents, different metals, or even plants. Avoiding the offending item can usually help relieve the symptoms, but in the meantime, if the itching is bothersome, hydrocortisone cream can usually help relieve the discomfort quickly.

2.Eczema: This chronic rash can appear as raised white or red patches of dry, scaly skin.  It can either come and go, or may remain constant; it's usually caused by an ultra sensitivity to a variety of things that your little one eats or touches, and it's often hereditary in nature. Hydrocortisone cream can relieve the discomfort that comes with a flare up of this condition, but your pediatrician will need to help you come up with a strategy to control the issue.

3.Hives: When your child's immune system over responds to an allergy trigger, she may experience a sudden outbreak of welts on her back and/or stomach, as well as on other parts of her body. These hives, which can appear in different shapes and sizes, usually come and go quickly. Always consult your pediatrician if you suspect your child is having such an allergic reaction, and be on the lookout for signs of a serious problem, which include wheezing, swelling of the throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or loss of consciousness. Benadryl can be used to treat mild hives, but if you have any concerns, always seek medical attention immediately.

4.Diaper Rash: Babies and young children who wear diapers can experience skin irritation, chapping, and soreness in the diaper area that results from being wet or dirty for extended lengths of time. The best way to prevent and treat the problem is to change your baby often and leave the area uncovered for as long as possible so it dries out completely. Vaseline or zinc oxide ointment can provide a barrier on the delicate skin area. If the area becomes infected, it can turn bright red and become swollen, which may require a prescription antifungal cream to treat the problem.

5.Illness. A variety of infections and viruses can cause rashes. They occur in different areas and have different appearances. Many are also accompanied by a fever and other symptoms. For instance, Chicken Pox causes red pimple-like spots to appear on your child's body; Slapped Cheeks Disease causes a red rash on the cheeks, making them look slapped, along with a rash on the body; Roseola has a high fever and red bumps that start on the back and neck; and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease causes red sores and blisters to appear on the hands, feet and even inside the mouth. The bottom line is that when a rash has you concerned and comes along with a fever or other physical symptoms, it's best to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.

When to Beware

Just keep in mind that when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to always check with your pediatrician for professional advice on treatment. Further, there's one type of rash that can be very dangerous and requires immediate attention. This is when the rash appears as tiny red dots, since they may be caused by ruptured blood vessels under the skin. If you press on the spots and they don't turn white or lighten, seek emergency treatment in case your child has a serious condition called petechiae.


American Academy of Family Physicians

Kids Health/Nemours Foundation