Rash - localized and cause unknown
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Does this describe your child's symptoms?
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
- Not moving or too weak to stand
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Purple or blood-colored spots or dots that's not from injury or friction
- Bright red area or red streak (but not sunburn)
- Rash area is very painful
- Age under 1 month old and tiny water blisters (like chickenpox)
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Severe itching or fever is present
- Looks like a boil, infected sore or other infected rash
- Teenager with genital area rash
- Lyme disease suspected (bull's eye rash, tick bite or exposure)
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
- You have other questions or concerns
- Blisters unexplained (EXCEPTION: Poison Ivy)
- Pimples (Apply antibiotic ointment until seen)
- Peeling fingers
- Rash lasts longer than 7 days
|Parent Care at Home If|
- Mild localized rash and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR LOCALIZED RASHES
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
- Reassurance: New localized rashes are usually due to skin contact with an irritating substance.
- Avoid the Cause:
- Try to find the cause.
- Consider irritants like a plant (e.g., poison ivy), chemicals (e.g., solvents or insecticides), fiberglass, detergents, a new cosmetic, or new jewelry (e.g., nickel).
- A pet may be the intermediary (e.g., with poison ivy or oak) or your child may react directly to pet saliva.
- Avoid Soap: Wash the area once thoroughly with soap to remove any remaining irritants. Thereafter avoid soaps to this area. Cleanse the area when needed with warm water.
- Local Cold: Apply a cold wet washcloth or soak in cold water for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours to reduce itching or pain.
- Steroid Cream: If the itch is more than mild, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (no prescription needed) 4 times per day. (EXCEPTION: suspected ringworm)
- Avoid Scratching: Encourage the child not to scratch. Cut the fingernails short.
- Contagiousness: Children with localized rashes do not need to miss any day care or school.
- Expected Course: Most of these rashes pass in 2 to 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash spreads or becomes worse
- Rash lasts over 1 week
- Your child becomes worse
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009
Last Revised: 6/24/2008
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Online
Copyright 1994-2009 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.