Appearance of rashes on child’s skin is very commonly encountered. Onset may be right after birth or anytime later. Most of the rashes are harmless & do not pose problem while others may be symptomatic causing itching or discomfort or visually bothersome. Some might disappear on its own while others will require treatment.
Rashes and Causes:
Rashes can be caused by multiple factors – Infectious and non-infectious & hence management differs. Rashes may be the sole presentation or sometimes they are accompanied by other systemic features like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory difficulties etc. Thus checking with your doctor is important for proper evaluation & identification of problem. It is important that any type of rash especially symptomatic or progressive be not taken lightly & better be given due medical attention.
Non-infectious rashes include allergic, hormonal, as a part of systemic disorders etc. They include: pimples( neonatal acne), milia, cradle cap( seborrheic capitis), Mongolian spots, diaper’s rash, salmon patch, hemangioma, atopic eczema, urticaria( hives), miliaria( prickly heat) etc. most of these disappear in due course of time spontaneously & do not require treatment while others like atopic dermatitis, urticaria will require oral & topical steroids & antihistamines.
A host of infectious agents like virus, bacteria, fungi, tick, mite etc may cause different type of rashes which can spread to others. Their early identification is important for timely intervention & limiting spread & burden of complication. Viral exanthema are especially common in infancy and early childhood. A proper comprehensive timely immunization through vaccines helps to prevent most of such rashes. Rashes of some illnesses like chicken-pox, meningitis etc is important to recognize early. Chicken pox presents with fluid filled dew-drop like vesicles and fever, itching, malaise. Meningitis can present with macula-papular rash( red flat & raised rashes);sometimes dark brown to black color( in severe cases) along with irritability, crying , fever, staring, neck stiffness etc. early diagnosis is essential here as complications are disabling and permanent.
Minor skin infections can act as a source for severe systemic infection and sepsis thus warranting early consultation with dermatologist to avoid delay in diagnosis.
Avoid self medication & home remedies.
Be regular & on time with vaccination schedule. Parents and care takers should get own skin problems treated too.