Although rashes are usually not symptoms of serious illness, people tend to worry about them because unusual skin conditions are so easily seen.
- It is best to have a physician diagnose and treat serious rashes. You can help by observing the child’s symptoms so the physician can be advised of the following:
- Is the rash itchy to the child?
- Is the rash red (blood colored) or pink?
- Is the skin warm to the touch?
- Is the rash raised or flat? pinprick size or blotchy? dry or blistery?
- Where on the body was the rash first noted? How has it changed since then?
- Has the child had a recent injury or exposure to infection, drugs, or chemicals?
- Does the child look or act sick in any other way?
- Has the child had this rash before?
- Has the child been in contact with someone who has this rash?
- Are there any illnesses that have been spreading among children lately? Solid red, warm areas that are spreading may be caused by infection. Many infections that affect the whole body are associated with rashes.
Use cold soaks with plain water to relieve itchy rashes. Do not use ointments, creams, powders, or lotions or give medicine unless you have both the doctor’s instructions and a parent’s consent.
Diaper rash is caused by moist surfaces rubbing against the skin, the chemical action of stool and urine on the skin, and long periods of contact with wetness. The ammonia odor in the diaper area comes when bacteria on the skin break down urine.
To care for diaper rash:
Keep the baby as dry as possible. Pat the skin dry after you clean it and before you close the clean diaper.
Change the child right away and clean the child’s bottom gently.
- Keep stool away from the child’s skin since feces contains broken-down bile that is like a detergent and is irritating to the skin.
- If the child’s doctor recommends it, apply a diaper cream as a barrier to keep urine and stool off the skin. Usually, diaper cream is applied as a thick layer, so that you do not have to remove all of it each diaper change, only the layer that has been soiled. That way, the skin underneath is protected from contact with urine and stool and has a chance to heal.
- Avoid using talcum or baby powder. It can be inhaled into the lungs and cause illness.
Heat rash (also known as prickly heat) is a skin rash that looks like small red bumps and usually occurs on the neck, upper chest, and the back of the head.
To help manage heat rash:
- Don’t overdress the child
- Wash and dry the child’s skin, especially between skin creases
- Frequently sponge and dry the area with cool tap water
Do not use baby powder.