Pediatric Dermatology

Our Approach to Children’s Skin Rashes at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting

We know how concerning skin rashes can be when they happen to our children and babies. At Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, our physicians are at your service to help diagnose and treat pediatric skin rashes. Whether the cause of your child’s rash is related to a virus, allergies, fungus or other potential triggers, understanding its cause and how to remedy it are essential to healing and prevention.

Little girl scratching arm at home, closeup. Annoying itch

Most Common Rashes in Children

The dermatologists who provide our pediatric services—Drs. Kathleen McGuinn and Eleni McGeehin—are experienced in identifying and treating all types of children’s skin rashes. The types of pediatric rashes we most commonly see in our practice include:

  • Ringworm—a common, contagious skin infection that is caused by a fungus that usually presents as a circular rash that is red and itchy
  • Fifth Disease—a mild rash illness caused by parvovirus B19 that is a contagious viral infection
  • Impetigo—a contagious bacterial skin infection that initially presents as blisters on the skin near the nose and mouth before spreading to other parts of the body
  • Warts—harmless skin growths that are small, firm bumps on the skin caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family
  • Heat Rash—a non-contagious rash caused by blocked sweat ducts that results in bumps that can be clear, red or skin-colored, usually found on the neck, chest and upper back; it is most common during hot, humid weather or after sun exposure
  • Contact Dermatitis—a non-contagious inflammation of the skin as a result of direct contact between an irritating substance and the skin that can cause mild redness, swelling, blistering, itching, scaling and temporary thickening
  • Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease—a very contagious viral infection that is usually not serious and can be identified by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet
  • Eczema—a fairly common, non-contagious skin condition that results in patches of dry, itchy and inflamed skin
  • Hives—a sudden outbreak of red, itchy and swollen areas of the skin that often happens as an allergic reaction to certain foods or taking certain medicines.

Causes of Children’s Skin Rashes

Determining the cause of a child’s skin rash is essential in determining appropriate treatment and preventing its spread or future outbreaks. Most children’s rashes are part of a viral illness. Viral rashes tend to involve small pink spots occurring on both sides of the chest, stomach and back. Viral rashes may also be accompanied by a fever, with some diarrhea or cold symptoms. These issues tend to last two or three days and most commonly occur during the summer. Other rashes can be caused by bacterial exposure or contact with an allergen. These rashes can usually be avoided in the future after understanding what triggered them.

Treatment of Children’s Skin Rashes

In most cases, children’s skin rashes will clear on their own with minimal treatment within 48 hours. However, diagnosing the rash is still important in determining whether it is contagious and if it was triggered by an allergen that can be avoided in the future. If you suspect a heat rash, give your child a cool bath; otherwise, no treatment is needed. If the rash is itchy, wash the skin once with soap to remove any irritants. For itch relief, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortaid) to the affected area. For flare-ups of itching, give your child a cool bath without soap. Try to prevent your child from scratching.

If your child is experiencing a rash, and you would like to have it seen by our dermatology staff, call us today for an appointment at 610-828-0400.