Rashes in childhood are very common and for the most part are not harmful. Below is some information about a few common viral rashes of childhood.
Hand, Foot and Mouth - This rash is found on the hands and feet, including the palms and soles, and the buttocks. Most times a few ulcers may appear in the mouth as well. This rash is usually accompanied by fever, aches and at times fussiness. The rash is most contagious when the child has a fever, usually the first few days of the illness.
Molluscum Contagiosum - This is a skin rash caused by a pox virus that causes raised, round smooth-surfaced bumps on the skin. They can look like thick walled pimples with a dent in the center. This rash is not painful and usually appears in clusters in one area of the body but can spread, especially if they are picking at the lesions. They can last on the skin for 6-18 months and rarely require intervention.
Fifth Disease (Erythema Infectiosum) - This rash usually begins with a bright red or rosy rash on both cheeks that lasts for 1 to 3 days then is followed by a lace like or net like rash on the body, most often the arms and legs. It may also be accompanied by a low grade fever. This rash is also contagious. Children usually come down with the rash 10 to 14 days after being exposed. With this rash, the person is contagious the week before the rash appears, and once the rash is established the child is no longer contagious. Pregnant woman should avoid exposure and if exposed should notify their provider.
Pityriasis Rosea - This rash is also probably caused by a virus. It begins with a scaly red patch called a “herald patch” or “Mother patch”, and after a few days numerous like small oval shaped lesions appear. They can take on a “Christmas tree” pattern on the back. They are sometimes mistaken for ringworm. The rash is usually found on areas that aren’t exposed to sun. It is most common in spring and autumn. It is self- limiting and can last 6-10 weeks. They only symptoms are usually mild itching.
Roseola – This rash usually presents after a sudden high fever that lasts three to five days, then the fever resolves and the child breaks out in a red spotty rash over body. It is most common under the age of two. It is contagious from about two days before the fever starts and 1-2 days after the fever is gone even if the rash continues.