“That wasn’t there yesterday,” you think to yourself as you help dress your daughter for preschool and notice a red bumpy rash spreading across her stomach. She starts to scratch it, her head feels hot and she’s irritable. You start listing all the childhood diseases you can think of and try to make a quick diagnosis. The rash keeps spreading, her forehead gets hotter. You finish getting her dressed and instead of preschool, head to your nearest clinic for a diagnosis. It may only be chicken pox, but better safe than sorry!
Is it a Rash or Isn’t it?
Rashes are one of the hardest things for a doctor to diagnose and treat because they can look so similar. Technically, a rash is an inflammation or eruption on the skin that usually looks like pink or red bumps. Rashes are usually itchy but not always, and the bumps themselves can be raised,flat or firm. They can even be oozing pus. Rashes can appear anywhere on the body and can disappear as quickly as they show up.
Pinpointing the Cause
Your child is uncomfortable and all you both want is for the rash to go away. So how do you figure out what’s causing it so you can start easing the symptoms? You and your doctor need to put on your detective hats and start piecing some clues together.
Your child has recently come in contact with a new soap, shampoo, bubble bath or fabric softener. Maybe you’ve switched to a new detergent or let your child wear new, unwashed clothing? Contact dermatitis is the most common childhood rash. Simply staying away from the source will clear the rash up in no time.
A rash appears after using certain soaps and detergents. Medications or foods like strawberries or nuts can also be the culprit. These types of allergic rashes usually show up 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the allergen. If you’re stumped by the cause, get an allergy test to know for sure.
There are raised bumps on the outsides of the upper arms. Though not itchy, this type of rash tends to stay for a while. Keratosis Pilaris is simply keratin that clogs hair follicles and causes a patch of bumps.
It’s a viral rash if:
Your child has symptoms like fever and chills, fatigue, sore throat, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes that lead up to the rash. Viruses that eventually show up as rashes include fifths disease, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, chickenpox and roseola. Rashes where you can’t identify the cause are usually viral in nature.
What Can I do?
A viral rash usually clears up on its own. You basically need to let it take its course and keep your child hydrated and comfortable until it peaks, then passes. It’s important that the immune system is supported, too, so keep some Orange Naturals D3 Drops, and Immune Health and Cough+Cold For Kids Tinctures on hand to keep viruses at bay.
It’s best to leave a rash dry and left exposed to air. Try not to cover it with ointments or creams unless prescribed by a doctor. A cool damp cloth can provide temporary relief from itching and irritation.
Rashes can be confusing, scary and uncomfortable for kids. Getting an early diagnosis will help with identifying itchy or painful bumps and getting a head start on a quick recovery. Remember to take note of any symptoms that your child might complain of before the bumps even appear.
You might even solve the mystery together!