Here’s a guide to identify and treat five of the most common rashes in children

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From German measles to hand-foot-and-mouth disease, we take a look at five of the most common rashes in kids (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
From German measles to hand-foot-and-mouth disease, we take a look at five of the most common rashes in kids (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Is your child suddenly covered in red spots? It could be German measles or foot-and-mouth disease, we take a look at five different types of common rashes, where they occur and how to treat them. 

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 the child feeling unwell and having a sore throat. Small pink-red 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 head and top of the neck 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 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 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 at the back of the neck.

Treatment

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

(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Small pink spots can appear on the body and neck, lasting one to four days. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

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 which 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 contagious. 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. Avoid aspirin and don’t scratch.

Measles (rubeola) 

Who? Younger children are protected if their moms had measles or were vaccinated.

What are the symptoms?

Fever, irritability, runny nose, red and 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 3-4 days a blotchy rash appears on the neck and face before spreading to the rest of the body.

Treatment

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

(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
A blotchy rash appears on the neck and face before spreading to the rest of the body. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

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