When Does a Child’s Rash Warrant a Call to the Doctor?

Whether at school or on the playground, children are exposed to contagious skin conditions all the time. It’s not uncommon for kids to develop rashes, but some are more serious than others and require treatment. Here’s how to tell when a child’s rash warrants a call or a trip to the doctor.

New Rashes

A toddler with scarlet fever laying down

In general, a newly developed rash doesn’t necessarily require immediate medical attention. If no other symptoms are present, simply monitoring the rash for changes and the child for new symptoms is the best course of action. The rash could just be the result of a long day in the sun (known as heat rash), an irritating new soap or laundry detergent, or friction from rubbing against clothing or bedding.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

If the child’s rash is accompanied by other symptoms, however, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. One such symptom is fever, which usually indicates that the child’s body is resisting some sort of bacteria, virus, or other infection. Other symptoms include swollen neck glands, intense discomfort or itching, a lack of appetite, and a rash that doesn’t go away within a few days. Additionally, if the child is showing signs that usually indicate a cold or flu—watery eyes, coughing, drowsiness, and others—he or she could have a more serious condition and should be checked by the doctor.

What Could the Rash Be?

If other symptoms are present, it’s possible that the child has contracted any number of conditions. Chickenpox is highly contagious, and it’s generally a mild but common viral infection that many young children catch at some point. Other more serious possibilities include meningitis, measles, scarlet fever, and psoriasis, all of which require medical attention and treatment.

If your child is experiencing a rash that you think requires medical attention, schedule an appointment with our team in Baton Rouge at The Dermatology Clinic by filling out our online form or calling (225) 769-7546.

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