Rashes are common, and everyone gets one at some point in their life. Contact with certain plants (e.g., poison ivy, oak, sumac), viral infections, bacterial infections, and insect bites can all cause rashes.
However, potentially-life threatening conditions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Pemphigus vulgaris, Kawasaki disease meningitis, and sepsis cause rashes, too. Varicella can also cause rashes, and although it’s a mild condition for most children, it still requires medical care.
So how do you spot the difference? When is an over-the-counter cream enough, and when is it time to get emergency care? Below, we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine to share some signs that your child needs either a regular doctor’s appointment or urgent care for their rash.
Blanching vs. non-blanching rashes
Blanching rashes are rashes that turn white when you put pressure on them. That’s the first way you can assess the severity of the situation.
If the rash turns white when you press your finger on it, it's a blanching rash, so it’s probably harmless. A regular appointment with a medical provider for a cream could be all your child needs.
However, if the rash doesn’t turn white, it could be a sign of a serious, potentially life-threatening disease, such as meningitis or blood poisoning, and you should get in touch with a medical provider right away.
Your child’s rash is accompanied by other symptoms
If the rash is only one of the symptoms your child is exhibiting, it could be a sign of something more serious going on. Other symptoms to look for include the following:
- Fever and redness of the skin
- Tenderness of the skin
- Peeling of the skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor appetite
- Bumpy, swollen tongue
- Swelling of the extremities
- Puss-filled rash
- Fluid-filled rash
- Rash located around the eyes or genital area
- Pain when urinating
In addition, if your child is under six months old, you should seek immediate medical attention even if there are no other symptoms accompanying the rash.
Get peace of mind by scheduling an appointment
Rashes are common, and very rarely dangerous. Unfortunately, at home, it’s very hard to tell whether your child’s rash is due to an allergy, a virus, or a life-threatening condition.
Girls who menstruate and develop a sudden rash could also exhibit signs of toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening reaction to wearing tampons that requires emergency care and antibiotics to cure.
Get peace of mind for your child by scheduling an appointment and allowing our experts to diagnose and treat your child’s rash.