Finding a rash on your baby’s or child’s skin can be pretty alarming, and may have you rushing to the GP’s surgery before you can say impetigo!
As a mother of two, I still like to get a rash checked by a doctor, even if it is one I’ve seen several times before, and while the temptation is to assume that a rash can mean meningitis, it is comforting to know that there are multiple other, much less serious causes of rashes in babies and children.
First, there is plain old nappy rash, which children can be particularly prone to developing during illness or teething, when a very acidic deposit can burn sensitive skin in the few seconds it takes to grab the changing bag. Check and change your baby regularly and ask daytime carers to do the same. Also, aim for some nappy-free time during the day if possible.
If your child does develop nappy rash, soothe first with clean, warm water – I like to sit mine in the bath for a few minutes to soak away any remnants that might still be causing pain. Then smother the area with an antiseptic nappy cream such as Sudocrem.
Children are also prone to heat rash, especially when we overzealous mums wrap them up in too many layers! This appears as tiny red bumps or sometimes blisters and can occur when children get hot and sweaty, usually clearing quickly.
Then there are rashes associated with infection. Rashes can be associated with specific viruses such as measles, chickenpox or the hand, foot and mouth virus, or with bacterial infections such as impetigo, all of which your doctor will be able to identify due to their classic appearance.
And, of course, there is meningitis, which can be bacterial or viral, and is strongly associated with a characteristic and distinctive rash and requires immediate treatment.