Should You Call the Doctor about Your Child's Rash?

Health & Wellness |


Itchy skin can be maddening. Your skin is dry, sensitive and red. All you want to do is scratch, but that brings little relief. In fact, that will actually make your rash worse. It’s a vicious cycle and you just want it to end.

When your child gets a rash, relief cannot come quickly enough. They struggle with the discomfort and you struggle to keep the rash from spreading. It’s next to impossible to prevent him or her from scratching, and often, it’s difficult to tell if the rash is caused by allergies, bug bites or an illness, such as chickenpox. But, armed with a little information you will know how to handle your child’s rash.

Here are some tips for relief for your child’s rash and guidelines for when to call the doctor.

Why do we get rashes anyway?

In general, we get rashes when we encounter something irritating to our skin or when we have a specific skin condition. They are many causes, but here the most common reasons our skin breaks out in a rash:

  • Our skin comes in contact with an irritant. For example, plants such as poison ivy produce substances that trigger a reaction. It’s a form of protection for the plant. However, it becomes quite troublesome for us when we brush up against it. Some harsh chemicals can also cause rashes when they touch our skin.
  • We have an allergy. It is possible that your child has an allergy and you don’t realize it. Think about any new or irregular items your child has come in contact with that may have triggered a rash, such as latex or even new medications.
  • Bugs bite. Biting insects, such as scabies or chiggers can cause our skin to break out. Sometimes, those bites become infected and increase our discomfort.
  • We have an illness. Many diseases can cause a rash. Most common in children are chickenpox and measles. Your doctor may recommend vaccines to prevent these illnesses.

What can I do to treat my child’s rash?

Not matter the cause of the rash, you want to ease your child’s suffering right away. Here’s what you can do:

  • Use mild soap to wash the rash. Remember not to scrub.
  • Use a soft towel to pat the skin dry.
  • Keep clothes or bandages away from the rash.
  • Apply a damp wash cloth to reduce itching and scratching.
  • Remind your child not to scratch.

When should I call the doctor about my rash?

You might have trouble deciding if your child’s rash warrants a trip to the pediatrician. In general, you should call the doctor if the rash does any of the following:

  • Keeps him or her from participating in daily activities
  • Makes it difficult for your child to sleep
  • Causes your child pain
  • Has not faded in three days
  • Does not change color when pressed
  • Appears like bruising
  • Starts shortly after eating a new food or taking a new medication
  • Or if your child has a fever with the rash

Remember that these are not hard and fast rules. You know your child best and can tell if they are feeling ill. If you are concerned about your child’s health, always call the pediatrician. For a same day appointment with a Riley Pediatrician call 844.8.IUHEALTH.