Authored by Katharine Foust in Child and Teen Health
Published on 09-04-2009
Skin rashes in children are a common occurrence as well as one that can throw parents into a full blown panic. It seems that the first fear the parent has is that the child has chicken pox, which may or may not be the case. There are however, many different types of skin rashes in children other than chicken pox.
For instance, there are a variety of viral and bacterial rashes that are common to children. Chicken pox happens to be one of them and is often confused with measles, but is actually completely different. The commonality between these two types of skin rashes in children is that they both come with a fever. Other than that, they are totally different.
Chicken pox tend to look like small blisters. These blisters will itch and cause the child to be uncomfortable. Chicken pox will appear and keep a steady vigil until the blisters have dried up. Scratching these will cause the blisters to open and can cause scarring on the child. It is a myth that this virus can only be gotten once in a lifetime. Those who have had the virus multiple times tend to do so because the virus did not run its entire course. Adults can also contract the virus and can be afflicted with serious side effects because of it.
Measles come in a couple of different forms and are known by different names such as Scarlet Fever, Scarletina and German measles. They differ from chicken pox in that the rash consists of smaller bumps that may appear and disappear. Measles may occur more than once in the same individual. Certain types of measles require that the child stay out of sunlight and other bright lights as the retina can be damaged.
Some other skin rashes in children are Fifth disease, Roseola, ringworm, Scabies, Shingles and diaper rash. While some of these rashes may be accompanied by a high fever, others will have no other symptoms besides the rash. Ringworm, which is actually a fungal infection, is an example of this. Parents should be cautious and consult a professional health care provider to determine what type of rash the child has.
Skin rashes in children have the unique opportunity to flourish and spread more than they would in adults. Part of the reason for that is that adults tend to have firmer personal boundaries than children. This means that children tend to share personal objects and may have limited concern for their own body space. Some children also have poor hygiene and will easily spread germs throughout public schools and daycares.
Parents should remember to teach their children good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of rashes. While some rashes are not contagious while the rash is present, others can be easily transmitted. This is why schools request that children not attend school for 24 hours after having a rash, fever or diarrhea. Parents should take this responsibility seriously in consideration of the other parents and students alike.