Copy to clipboard

Identify Several Types of Skin Rashes


It’s morning and your little one wakes up with a rash on the body, face, legs or feet. What do you do? Why is this rash there? Do you call the doctor right away?

Before you have “rash” thoughts (no pun intended), here are a few things you can go through to see if this is a rash that needs immediate medical attention. With all the hype going on right now, not everything is a Measles rash!

  • Fever – anything above 100.4 F. This is a big indicator that something can be wrong. Viruses tend to have high fevers around 102 and 103, for a few days, then 2-3 days later a rash breaks out. Yes, Measles has high fevers, but so do benign viruses like hand foot mouth, roseola, or chicken pox. Tylenol or ibuprofen is helpful in reducing the fever and making your child feel a little better.

  • Allergies? New foods? New detergents, clothing, or new exposure? These are things to consider, especially if your little one just tried something new. If it is itchy, then it is probably an allergic reaction to something. These rashes are all over or localized to one spot and usually last a few days.

  • Energy or lack thereof? Toddlers are little balls of energy, so when they are tired and don’t want to do anything and fuss and cry all day, then there is something more to them then just a rash. But if your child is normal, eating and playful, sleeping well, no fuss, then there probably isn’t much to worry about.

  • Insect bites? With the summer approaching, one thing that people don’t realize is an allergy to mosquito bites, which look scarier than they really are. Some children (and adults too!) get a reaction to the anesthetic than mosquitos inject before taking your blood. Same thing with spider bites, which can also swell up. Look for evidence of bite marks, itching, and sometimes pain.

  • Blisters? Are there large bubble-like rashes on your child’s skin? These could mean there is an underlying illness with another organ system like the kidneys.

  • Oozing and crusting – this can mean a skin infection like with staph, a very common organism around children, or chickenpox especially kids that go to daycare or preschool. Have it checked out to prevent the spread to other kids.

  • Pain? If it is an “Ouchy” then it probably has more to it than they eye can see.

  • Location – how did it start? Is it in one location? Did it start on the face and then spread to the rest of the body (measles) or was it all over the body from the start (roseola, typical viral rash)? Is it only on the hands, foot, mouth and buttocks (Hand foot mouth disease AKA coxsackie virus)?

  • Other new abnormal symptoms: any upper respiratory symptoms may signal a viral rash. Measles comes with cough and eye discharge. Any vomiting or diarrhea should also prompt medical attention. A rash that doesn’t go away within a week or one that keeps getting worse can also mean more care is needed.

Remember kids get rashes all the time, and some come and go without leaving a trace. As a parent it is easy to lose control and worry, but always remember that your doctor at Elevated Health is only a text or call away!