Skin Rashes in Children
Skin Rashes in Children Facts
A rash is a reaction of the skin. It can be caused by many things, such as a drug reaction, an infection, or an allergic reaction. Many different agents can cause similar-appearing rashes because the skin has a limited number of possible responses. Very often the other associated symptoms or history, in addition to the rash, help establish the cause of the rash, such as a history of tick bites, exposure to other ill children or adults, recent antibiotic use, environmental exposures, or prior immunizations.
Most rashes caused by viruses do not harm a child and go away over time without any treatment. However, some childhood rashes have serious or even life-threatening causes. Parents should be familiar with these rashes. Many rashes can look the same, making it difficult to know the exact diagnosis. See a doctor immediately for any concerns.
Many childhood diseases have viral or bacterial causes and include a rash of some type. As additional vaccines become available, these diseases become less of a threat to a child's long-term health. A rash of any kind should be taken seriously, however, and may require a trip to the doctor's office for evaluation. Examples of viral or bacterial rashes include several common childhood illnesses.
Impetigo is a superficial skin infection caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria. It is often found around the nose and mouth but can occur anywhere. The rash is more common in the warmer months. It can also occur as a secondary infection in skin that has been damaged, such as with insect bites, poison ivy, eczema, or abrasions.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever is simply strep throat or other strep infection with a characteristic rash. The infection is caused by the bacteria group A Streptococcus pyogenes. Strep throat is most commonly seen in school-aged children in the winter and early spring, but it can occur in individuals of any age and in any season. It is very contagious, and the risk of transmission can be decreased with good hand washing. Strep infection may also occur around the anus or in the vaginal region.
The rash is not serious or contagious, but serious complications can occur from the underlying strep infection. The most worrisome of these is rheumatic fever, a serious disease that can damage the heart valves and cause long-term heart disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/15/2015
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