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Does that rash on your kid's skin make you worry? It could simply be an innocent rash. But in order to recognize that, let us identify the most common types of rashes in childhood.

From a general point of view, childhood rashes are very common, and like many other symptoms, rash tends to resolve once the cause is identified.  It is just the skin’s way of letting you know that something is irritating it. Although the majority of rashes are harmless, some of them could be quite dangerous and worrisome, and identifying the clue regarding which we should worry about or not is key in dealing with those skin affections.

Here is a list of all the most common skin rashes that occur during childhood:

The Chicken Pox Rash

Chicken pox is a very contagious disease caused by primary infection with a virus from the herpes family, called the Varicella Zoster Virus (VSV). The chicken pox rash is characterized by fluid filled vesicles all over the body. It begins as red marks that resemble mosquito bites. Within a few hours, the marks develop into blisters that would end up bursting out, potentially leaving some scabs on the skin.

The chicken pox rash is said to start “centrally” (head, trunk, chest), and progresses “peripherally” (arms, legs, etc.).

Alongside with the rash, your child might also present with flu-like symptoms (a low grade fever, a headache or a sore throat). Like previously mentioned, this rash is highly contagious, and remains so until all the blisters have dried and crusted. This generally takes up to 6 days, within which the child should be isolated to avoid him transmitting the disease to others. So yes, the chicken pox rash is something we should worry about. The chicken pox blisters can also get infected if the child scratches the skin (it is very itchy), which would cause lesions.

To prevent chicken pox outburst, a Varicella vaccine is available.

One dose of vaccine is given during childhood. However, because the immunity is not long-lasting, a booster is generally required 5 years after the previous dose.

Measles Rash

Also called rubella, measles is another highly contagious disease caused by a virus, the Measles Virus (which belongs to the family of Paramyxoviridae). The virus is transmitted via respirator droplets and nasal secretions, from one child to another through hand shaking or other forms of close contact.

The measles rash starts few days after an episode of fever and appears as a generalized rash all over the body.

It starts at the back of the ears, then spread to the head and neck and later on, the entire body.

It is reddish to brownish in appearance, and is described as “maculopapular”.

Measles present with 4 characteristic symptoms: Cough, Conjunctivitis, Coryza san Cranky state (called the 4Cs).

Another key characteristic marker of measles is the presence of Koplik’s spots, which are small areas of red-blue white spot in the oral mucosa. The rash of Rubella (German Measles) commences as macules and papules all over the forehead; that diffusely spread to the face, the trunk and the extremities. 

Heat rash

Another name for the “oh-so common” heat rash is Miliaria. Heat rash is one of those we should not worry about, as it tend to disappear with decreased exposure to heat and sun.  Heat rash presents as tiny raised red bumps on the surface of the skin, on heat exposed areas (face, neck, arms, legs, etc.) For some people it is itchy, while for others it is not. 

Heat rash does not require any medical attention and will go away in no time.
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