Rashes – What To Look Out For

If you follow my blog then you will know about how I recently contracted slapped cheek disease.

Iyla caught it after me so luckily I knew what it was and when the rash came up all over her body I didn’t panic.

Slapped Cheek on a toddler

Rashes on kids are scary though and I think it is always better to be safe than sorry. Dad2BabyInsomniac gets especially worried when Iyla comes up in any kind of rash as he had meningitis when he was a baby.

 I have a guest post today about the rashes that can affect babies and children and what to look out for…

It’s terrifying to discover a rash on your baby; a rash that could be anything from chicken pox to meningitis or an allergic reaction. It is important to know which other symptoms are associated with these rashes, so that you can determine what to do next.

Below are just a few of the more common illnesses that children can contract which present with a rash.

Chicken Pox – Some diseases, such as chicken pox, give us immunity for the rest of our lives once we’ve suffered with them once.

Symptoms: Your child will start to feel unwell and may develop a temperature. Spots will start to develop on their back, chest, head and neck and then spread to the rest of the body. These spots will start red and develop into fluid-filled blisters. The blisters will eventually scab over and fall off; scarring is uncommon from chicken pox, but the dried blisters will become itchy and the scratching can cause scarring.

Infectious Period: The illness is most contagious 1-2 days before the spots appear and will last until all the blisters have scabbed over. If your infant has chicken pox, try to keep them away from public areas to prevent infecting people who have not yet had the illness.

Chicken pox can be dangerous to women trying to get pregnant or who are pregnant, as this may lead to miscarriage or the baby being born with chicken pox.

Treatment: For most children, chicken pox is a mild illness and does not require a trip to the GP. Your pharmacist can usually recommend products to reduce the fever and alleviate the itching. Only consult your GP if you notice your child has abnormal symptoms or behaviour.

Measles – Measles is a much more serious infection than chicken pox and is one of the most contagious diseases among children, although the number of outbreaks in the UK has reduced significantly due to the introduction of the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles is a notifiable illness in the UK, which means that all cases must be reported to the health office.

Symptoms: The symptoms of measles appear about 10 days after the child contracts the virus. Early signs present as cold or flu-like symptoms. Tiny white/grey spots will appear in the child’s mouth and throat and this will result in a dry cough. Your infant will develop a rash 2-3 days after the initial symptoms appear. The measles rash starts as small red spots which quickly get bigger and join together.

Infectious Period: Measles is a highly contagious illness and can be fatal if complications arise. The MMR vaccine has helped reduce the number of outbreaks in the UK but not eliminated them completely as the vaccine is not used by the entire population.

Measles is transmitted in water droplets expelled from the nose and mouth by the infected person, who is contagious up to 14 days before the symptoms present.

Treatment: If you think your infant might have measles you must contact your GP immediately. Your GP is responsible for notifying the health office so that the breakout can be tracked down. There are complications associated with measles so it is important to alert your doctor as soon as you suspect your baby may have measles, they will then be able to advise you correctly about what action to take.

Meningitis – Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. A bacterial, viral or fungal infection causes the meninges to swell; this can result in damage to the nerves and the brain.

Meningitis caused by a bacterial infection is much more severe than the more common viral infection and must be diagnosed and treated early.

Symptoms: Meningitis symptoms present very quickly and can get worse very fast. Symptoms of meningitis in adults include headache, temperature, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, fever and vomiting.

In babies and infants you also want to look for a floppy body or jerky/stiff movements, a swollen or lumpy fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of the baby’s head), a glazed stare, high pitched crying, blotchy skin, cold hands or feet and rapid breathing.

Meningitis also presents with a red, pin prick rash that remains visible under pressure, this can be tested by rolling a glass tumbler over the rash. If the rash can still be seen under the glass then it is likely to be meningitis and you should contact your GP immediately.

Infectious Period: Meningitis can be caused by bacteria from a wide variety of sources. If someone is diagnosed with the disease, anyone with whom they’ve had close contact should be monitored. Close contact would include kissing, sharing utensils, coughing and sneezing.

Someone with bacterial meningitis could be contagious for 2-3 days prior to showing symptoms and will remain infectious until the illness has been treated and cleared up.

Treatment: Bacterial meningitis is very serious and needs medical attention as soon as possible. It is a fast acting infection which can kill. If you’re worried about meningitis, take your child to hospital immediately and tell them specifically why you’re worried.

Author Bio: Vicki Power is currently writing about childhood health issues on behalf of Dr Thom, the online doctor service.

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