Viral Skin Conditions: Pictures of Rashes, Blisters, and Sores in Adults and Toddlers

Reviewed on 8/31/2020


Chickenpox causes an itchy viral rash that appears all over the body.

Chickenpox is an illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes a viral skin rash consisting of fluid-filled blisters that are intensely itchy. The rash appears approximately 10 to 21 days after you are exposed to the virus. And the viral rash lasts about 5 to 10 days. The rash has three phases. The first phase consists of papules, which are red or pink spots. Then fluid-filled vesicles occur. The last phase involves crusty scabs.

Other signs and symptoms of chickenpox include fatigue, fever, and a headache. You may not feel like eating anything. Most people have a mild course of the illness, although some people may experience serious complications. Chickenpox is a lot more rare today thanks to vaccination.


Shingles is a viral infection skin rash caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox.

Shingles is a more common viral skin rash in adults, especially older adults. It is painful and can appear anywhere although it mostly occurs as a band around one side of the torso. Shingles results when previously latent chickenpox virus reactivates in your body, producing the viral skin rash and other symptoms like numbness, tingling, and itching. Some people experience a fever, fatigue, headache, and light sensitivity with shingles. Some people get repeated outbreaks of shingles. Vaccination can help prevent the illness.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Another viral skin rash adults and children get is called molluscum contagiosum.

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes groups of round, painless bumps that spread when scratched. The bumps have an indentation in the middle. The lesions are contagious and you can get them by touching someone else's rash or by coming into contact with objects that are infected. The infection is more common in those who have weakened immune systems.

Cover the rash, if you develop it, to minimize the risk of spreading it to others. Avoid touching the bumps so you don't spread the rash to other areas. Wash your hands often to help minimize the risk of spreading the virus. Do not share personal items like clothing, hairbrushes, and towels with others to help prevent the virus.

Fifth Disease

Fifth disease causes one of the most common viral skin rashes in children.

Fifth disease is a viral skin rash in children that causes a characteristic red slapped-cheek rash. It is a parvovirus infection that is common in children and usually goes away on its own. The infection may be more serious in some adults, especially in pregnant women. It's likely you won't experience any symptoms if you have fifth disease. Some children may develop a fever, headache, runny nose, and stomach upset in addition to the red rash. The rash may spread to the trunk, arms, buttocks, and thighs. It has a lacy appearance and it may be itchy and may come and go for up to three weeks.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are lesions that appear on the lips due to viral outbreaks of HSV-1.

Cold sores are blisters that appear on your lips that are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and less frequently, HSV-2. You may notice itching, tingling, or burning on your lips a day or two before an outbreak. Cold sores are very common and the virus that causes them is very contagious. You don’t need to do anything to treat cold sores. Most of them go away on their own. There are antiviral medications and topical creams that may help them heal faster or even prevent outbreaks. Like all viruses, HSV-1 stays in your system and it may reactivate and you may suffer outbreaks when you are under stress or you are sick.

Genital Herpes

Herpes is a viral skin rash that’s actually an STD.

Genital herpes is a viral skin rash in the genital area caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2, the more common cause of genital herpes). It is an STD and it is very common. Approximately one out of every six people between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes. You can get genital herpes from having intercourse or oral sex with a person who has the infection. Signs of the infection are the appearance of sores in the genital area, pain while urinating, discharge, and bleeding between periods for women.

Your doctor can diagnose herpes based on the appearance of the sores. There's also a blood test that can detect antibodies to the virus. Outbreaks are preceded by burning, tingling, and itching. Then blisters occur and later crust over. The virus becomes inactive or latent between outbreaks. The doctor can prescribe medication to help reduce the risk of outbreaks. Practice safer sex to reduce the risk of transmitting genital herpes to a partner.

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease causes a painful, self-limiting rash on these areas.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a viral skin rash caused by either a coxsackievirus or an enterovirus. It causes flat red spots that may form blisters on the hands, feet, and buttocks. The viral skin rash is most common in kids under the age of 10 and it's more prevalent in the summer and fall. It may also cause mouth sores, loss of appetite, fever, and sore throat. It transmits easily from one person to another, especially in schools and daycare centers. You can get the illness by breathing contaminated droplets, touching contaminated items, or touching a person who has the infection. The virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning you can pick it up from someone who has the virus and doesn't wash their hands properly after using the restroom.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease doesn’t need to be treated. It resolves on its own. The best way to prevent the virus is to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with warm soap and water.


Rubella causes a viral skin rash on the face arms, legs, and body.

Rubella is a viral illness that causes a skin rash all over the face and body. It is usually mild and you may have a sore throat and a fever along with the rash. However, rubella is dangerous for pregnant women as it may lead to miscarriage or birth defects. Rubella is rare today because people are vaccinated against it with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

If you're not up to date on your vaccinations, this virus could cause a fine, pink rash that starts on your face and spreads to your body, arms, and legs. It disappears in the same order. You may also feel a bit sick and have a headache. You can get it from an infected person when they cough or sneeze near you.


Measles is a vaccine-preventable viral infection that affects people where vaccinations are not available.

Measles is a viral illness that cause a rash and white spots (Koplik's spots) inside of the mouth. It starts with cough, high fever, runny nose, and watery, red eyes. Measles can be very serious, especially for children under the age of 5. Vaccination with the MMR vaccine can confer long-lasting protection against the virus.

Children in the US receive one dose of the MMR vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age. They receive the second dose between the ages of 4 and 5 years of age. People are still diagnosed with measles in the US mostly due to unvaccinated travelers who are visiting.

Roseola (Sixth Disease)

Roseola is a viral skin rash in toddlers and babies.

Roseola is a viral infection that causes a rash and a high fever. It is a viral skin rash common in babies and toddlers between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old. The illness is caused by one of two herpes viruses, but not the kind that cause cold sores and genital herpes. Kids who get sick with the virus may develop swollen lymph nodes, fever, irritability, and respiratory symptoms. High fever may lead to dangerous febrile seizures.

The virus spreads easily when a child who is infected coughs or sneezes and others inhale the droplets. The virus also spreads via contact with contaminated surfaces. The rash and fever subside within a few days. Treat fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but never aspirin, which carries a risk of Reye's syndrome in children. There is no real way to prevent roseola. Infection in childhood is thought to protect against future bouts of the illness.

Colorado Tick Fever

The bite of a Rocky Mountain wood tick may spread Colorado tick fever.

Colorado tick fever is a viral illness transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick. The illness is most common in the western US and western Canada, especially at high altitudes. Ticks are most active during the spring and summer, which is when most people become infected. As the name of the illness suggests, people who get it develop a fever, but also body aches, a headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people experience vomiting, abdominal pain, sore throat, and a stiff neck.

There's no specific treatment for Colorado tick fever. You can take pain relievers to reduce fever and help eliminate aches and pains. Some people require stronger medications and IV fluids in the hospital. Wear tick repellant when you’re outdoors and check yourself for ticks when you go back indoors.

Acrodermatitis (Gianotti-Crosti Syndrome)

Acrodermatitis is a rash that may be caused by several viral illnesses.

Acrodermatitis is a viral skin rash that occurs in babies and children between the ages of approximately 9 months to 9 years old. The illness causes bumps to appear on the arms, legs, cheeks, and buttocks. It may be itchy or asymptomatic. The rash lasts anywhere from 10 days to up to two months. Patients may have other symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, and fever, with the infection.

Acrodermatitis may be caused by a number of viruses including hepatitis B, coxsackievirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Kids usually don't need treatment for the outbreak, but if the bumps are itchy, steroid cream can be applied on the lesions to reduce itching and inflammation.


Mononucleosis is spread easily through saliva.

Mononucleosis, or "mono," is the viral illness most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Mono is common in children and teenagers. Most people have had mononucleosis by the time they are adults. Many people, especially children, won't know that they have mono because they don't have any symptoms. Teens are more likely to experience symptoms with the illness. These include sore throat, swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, headache, enlarged spleen, and a skin rash.

Rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and fluids are recommended to recover from mono. People should also avoid physical activity which might result in a ruptured spleen. Mono spreads via saliva. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to not kiss others when you are sick. Do not share food, drinks, dishes, and utensils with others.


Many people who have Zika virus don't have any symptoms.

Zika virus is an illness that is transmitted by mosquitoes usually in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Many people do not know they have the virus because they don't experience any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may develop a skin rash, fever, red eyes, headache, and muscle pain.

Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually or via contact with the blood of an infected person. Zika is potentially very dangerous to pregnant mothers because it may result in miscarriage or birth defects. The virus has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome.

People who have symptoms of Zika virus manage it by resting, staying hydrated, and using over-the-counter pain relievers to decrease fever and pain.

Viral Skin Conditions: Pictures of Rashes, Blisters, and Sores in Adults and Toddlers

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