Rashes in babies and children

Skin rashes are common in babies and children.

  • Most rashes are harmless and go away on their own.  
  • The causes of skin rashes tend to differ in babies compared to older children. Many viruses can cause a rash in addition to other symptoms such as fever and cough. The rash often varies in shape and size, usually appearing as blotchy red spots commonly affecting most of the body. They sometimes appear quite quickly and usually last for only a few days.  These rashes are generally ‘non-specific’, which means that it is often hard to say which specific virus is the cause.
  • For a visual guide to common causes of skin rashes in babies click the button below.

Common rashes

For information on common rashes in babies and infants, click here

For information on common rashes in older children, click here

What should you do?

  • Some rashes require no medical input and simply get better by themselves without any treatment. This includes viral rashes. If your child has a fever, you may want to lower their temperature using paracetamol (calpol) and/or ibuprofen.
  • Some rashes require you to keep your child off from nursery or school. This includes chickenpox and scarlet fever.

However, certain conditions such as eczema and impetigo require treatment from your GP. 

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When should you worry?

Your child should see a doctor if they...

  • are drowsy or irritable. Children with fever are often sleepy and miserable but if they remain drowsy or irritable despite their fever coming down, they should see a doctor the same day.
  • have cold or discoloured hands and feet with a warm body.
  • have blistering or peeling of their skin.
  • also have red eyes and red lips.
  • have recently had chickenpox and are now getting more unwell with a high fever and spreading red rash.
  • have a rash that doesn’t fade under pressure using the glass test.

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Where should you seek help?

Find urgent care services near you

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