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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Spotty Child: Rashes and When to Worry


'Chicken Pox' photo (c) 2006, Adam - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
A red spot on your child’s skin could be any number of things. These rashes that occur during childhood are very common and usually can be cured with tender loving care and time. However, medical care may be necessary. Here’s the skinny of five of the most common childhood rashes. If you find anything concerning, making an appointment with a dermatologist is the best thing to do. 

Chickenpox (Varicella)
If you’ve had chickenpox, you probably remember your friends or siblings having it too. That is because it is one of the most contagious diseases. In the United States alone, about 3.9 million people a year contract chickenpox. It is easily spread when an infected person touches, sneezes, coughs or shares food or drink.

Symptoms 
The first symptoms often are fever, headache, sore throat and sometimes drowsiness or loss of appetite. After a couple of days, an itchy rash and red spots or blisters will appear all over the body, although some children get the chickenpox rash without having the early symptoms. The skin irritations go through four stages over a one- to two-day period: blistering, bursting, drying and crusting. This lasts about 10 days after the first symptoms start.

Treatment
Contact and/or visit your doctor when symptoms start. For regular cases, home treatment is all your child needs. This includes a lot of rest, taking medicine to reduce fever and itching and avoiding contact with others. A popular home remedy is to soak in an oatmeal bath to help fight the itching.

Risk
As with all infections, special care or medicine may be necessary for children and adults with long-term diseases or immune system problems.

Prevention
A vaccine is available for children ages 12 months and older and adults who have not had the chickenpox.

Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease
This is an infectious disease caused by the coxsackie virus. It occurs most often in children younger than 10 years old. It is a contagious disease that can be spread through saliva, fluid from blisters or the stool of an infected person.

Symptoms
As the name implies, it is characterized by blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and in the mouth. Additional symptoms include fever, sore throat and headache. The infection usually last about seven to 10 days.

Treatment 
There is no medical treatment for hand-foot-mouth disease. Pain relievers and saltwater mouth rinses can be used to ease pain.

Risk
Complications are VERY RARE, but can happen. Viral meningitis, inflammation of the brain, and fingernail and toenail loss have been connected to the disease.

Prevention
No vaccine is available. Just remind your child to take everyday precautions such as washing their hands and avoiding contact with a child that might be infected.

Roseola Infantum (Sixth Disease)
This is a common, but harmless, disease for children ages six months to 2 years old. As you may have guessed by the name, its main feature is a rosy-pink rash on the skin. It is caused by two common viruses that are spread by fluid from the nose or throat.

Symptoms
The first symptom is a high fever that can last anywhere from two to eight days. After the fever subsides, a non-itchy rash may appear. The rash most often presents on a child’s torso, neck or arms. Sore throat, stomachache, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea may occur in rare cases.

Treatment
The rash will go away without any medical treatment. Pain relievers and sponge baths can be used to ease the pain.

Prevention
No vaccine is available. Just remind your child to take everyday precautions such as washing their hands and avoiding contact with a child that might be infected.

Contact Dermatitis
The most common form of dermatitis is an allergic reaction to contact with poison ivy, poison oak or sumac. These plants have sap oil called urushiol, which triggers the allergic reaction. Estimates show that about 75 percent of people in the United States have some degree of sensitivity to urushiol.

Symptoms
Mild skin redness or a rash of small red bumps will form on any skin that has been in contact with the sap oil. In severe cases swelling, redness and large blisters can occur. The rash usually lasts for five to 21 days.

Treatment
Washing with cold water immediately after contact can help reduce the rash. After about an hour, it won’t be as effective. DO NOT jump into a hot shower. This can cause the rash to spread. Most treatments are directed to help control the itching, such as Benadryl or cortisone creams. Calamine lotion, oatmeal baths and cool compresses also are common.

Prevention
Warn your children to avoid the poisonous plants! Easier said then done, right? Common phrases to help remember are “leaves of three, let it be” for poison ivy and “berries white, a poisonous sight” for poison oak and sumac.

Ringworm
Myth – ringworm is caused by contact with worms. It is a skin infection caused by fungus that lives off of dead skin, hair and nail tissue. It is very contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected person or animal or towels, clothing or sports gear. Ringworm grows best in warm, moist areas such as locker rooms and swimming pools.

Symptoms
A very itchy rash that usually is in a round shape, like a ring. If infected on the hand, the skin will get thick, dry and scaly.

Treatment
The most common treatment is using over-the-counter or prescription creams, depending on the severity of the infection. If untreated, the skin can become infected with bacteria and will need antibiotics.

Prevention
Avoiding an infected person, animal or item is the No. 1 prevention method. Other tips include having your child wear sandals in locker rooms and around public pools, showering after playing sports and changing their underwear and socks at least once a day.

If you notice an abnormal rash or marking on your child’s skin, or have any questions about skin irritations, call us at 901-759-2322. We will be glad to answer any questions or set up an appointment to assess your child’s situation.


1 comment:

  1. Great Blog.
    Really enjoyed the way you wrote and thanks for sharing this valuable information here.
    This really helped!!!
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