Your toddler is going to preschool. That means close interaction with other young children who transfer germs constantly from putting their fingers in their mouth or nose and then on tabletops, doorknobs, and other surfaces your child touches. If your young child is enrolled in a preschool, they’ll be exposed to many types of viruses and bacteria. Some of these cause rashes.
Our board-certified family care physician Dr. Ugonma Okparaocha and our team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center see many types of rashes in children and can provide a quick diagnosis and treatment to help your little one feel better soon.
Following are descriptions of common childhood rashes to help you understand what you see when your child develops one of them.
The name of this virus describes its symptoms. Your child has blister-like sores on their palms, the bottom of their feet, the back of their mouth and sometimes their buttocks, arms, or legs. It’s very contagious, so your child needs to stay at home until the rash is gone. Use children’s acetaminophen for pain.
If you have other children, they may get it from contact with your sick child. To help avoid transmission, make sure they don’t touch each other’s plates, cups, or utensils. Wash your hands thoroughly after helping your child.
Does your little one have reddened cheeks that resemble a tiny Santa Claus? This is a sign of the virus called fifth disease. You can put a soothing moisturizer on their cheeks to soothe the discomfort. They may also have a rash on their legs or arms and exhibit cold symptoms.
The rash spreads when your child coughs or sneezes or puts their fingers in their mouth or nose and then touches something — including other children. Keep their hands clean. If you’re pregnant and have been exposed to fifth disease, you need to contact your primary care doctor; on rare occasions, there are complications.
Your child has an unsightly, crusty rash that usually starts on the face and then spreads to other places when they touch the rash. Impetigo is a bacterial infection, so Dr. Okparaocha prescribes an antibiotic ointment. If the rash is widespread, she may prescribe an oral antibiotic.
Keep your child’s hands as clean as possible, and wash your hands thoroughly after helping your toddler, because the rash is spread through touch. To help prevent impetigo, if your child has a cut, wash it and put a bandaid on it so they won’t scratch it as it heals.
Don’t worry; this rash isn’t caused by a worm. It's a fungus. Fungi proliferate in warm, moist places — think skin, towels, or anything that’s damp. You’ll see round places on your child’s body that have dry skin. Your child will be scratching and may be irritable because ringworm causes itching, burning, and stinging. Dr. Okparaocha prescribes an antifungal cream or oral medication.
Your child likely loves to play outside. Whether it’s at preschool, at home, or at another child’s home, your child may get poison ivy from playing in a yard. The rash is red and bumpy. Blisters appear and can begin to drain. Dr. Okparaocha prescribes a steroid cream. If the rash has spread, she is likely to prescribe prednisone to calm the inflammation.
Remove any plants with three leaves from your yard. Ask the preschool if they have examined the play area outside for poison ivy.
Call Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center or book an appointment online for health concerns about your little loved one.