What is viral rashes?

Viral Rashes
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Viral rash in children: Overview

Many viruses can cause a rash in children. Some viral rashes have a clear cause, like the ones caused by chickenpox or fifth disease. But for many viral rashes, doctors may not know the cause. When the virus goes away, in most cases the rash will go away.

Symptoms of a viral rash depend on the type of virus and how your child's skin reacts to it. There may be redness, bumps, or raised areas. Some rashes may be itchy. Other viral symptoms may include a fever, a headache, a runny nose, a sore throat, belly pain, or diarrhea.

Most viruses that cause rashes are easy to pass from one person to another. Talk to your doctor about when your child can go back to day care or school.

How can you care at home for your child with a viral rash?

  • If the rash is itchy:
    • Apply a cool, wet cloth for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day.
    • Urge your child to not scratch the rash. Scratching could cause a skin infection.
    • Ask your doctor if there are medicines that can help when itching is bad.
  • If your doctor prescribed medicine, give it exactly as directed. Be safe with medicines. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine.

Viral rash in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of a new or worse infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • Your child seems to be getting sicker.
  • Your child has new blisters or bruises.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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