Identify the rash

By admin
01 September 2014

Is your child suddenly covered in red spots? Here’s a guide to identify and treat five of the most common rashes

German measles (Rubella)

Who?

Mostly school-age children. In younger children it can go unnoticed. In pregnant women it can cause serious

damage to the unborn child.

What are the symptoms?

The rash can suddenly appear after two days of feeling unwell and having a sore throat. Small pinkred spots appear on the face and spread quickly to the body and limbs. By the next day the spots join to become a red patch, which usually disappears after three days. The lymph glands at the back of the neck and behind the ears are enlarged.

Treatment

No specific treatment is needed.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Who?

Usually babies or kids younger than five.

What are the symptoms?

The first signs are a loss of appetite and slight fever. A few small ulcers appear on the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth. Soon afterwards pearl-like blisters form on the palms, soles of the feet and on top of the hands and feet. All these symptoms last about a week.

Treatment

It’s a mild infection that requires no treatment.

Baby measles (Roseola)

Who?

Babies aged six to 24 months.

What are the symptoms?

Sudden fever, irritability and sometimes febrile (having the symptoms of a fever) seizures. The fever lasts for three days. Small pink spots appear on the body and neck, lasting one to four days. There may be swelling around the eyes, and you can feel the swollen lymph glands in the neck.

Treatment

Paracetamol relieves the child’s symptoms and may prevent febrile seizures. Breastfeeding can continue.

Chickenpox (varicella)

Who?

Any age but especially risky in newborn babies and often in adults, too.

What are the symptoms?

The first signs are fever and itchy pink spots all over the body that turn into blisters after a few hours. Itchy scabs form in three to four days and fall off in seven to 14 days.

Treatment

Chickenpox is extremely infectious. The first signs of infection appear only two weeks after contact, which makes an outbreak at a school hard to contain. Calamine lotion relieves the itching and dries out the blisters. Don’t use aspirin and don’t scratch.

Measles (Rubeola)

Who?

Any age, although young children are initially protected if their moms had measles or were vaccinated.

What are the symptoms?

Fever, irritability, runny nose, red watery eyes and a cough that becomes worse over a period of three days. Later white spots appear inside the mouth. After a fever lasting three to four days a blotchy rash appears on the neck and face before spreading to the rest of the body.

Treatment

Give paracetamol to reduce the fever and offer plenty of liquids. Antibiotics aren’t necessary except if there are complications, such as an ear infection or pneumonia. The child stops being infectious about five days after the rash appears. Most children recover completely within 10 days. Prevent measles with vaccinations at nine and 18 months.

-       Suzaan Hauman

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