Childhood conditions slideshow

From warts and measles to chickenpox and tonsillitis, find out how to recognise some of the most common childhood conditions.

Visit the childhood conditions slideshow on NHS Choices.

Allergic contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with a substance to which you have an allergy. This causes your skin to become inflamed, red, blistered, dry, thickened or cracked.

It may take many hours or several days for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with the allergen.

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Atopic eczema

Most commonly, eczema develops in the creases of your skin, such as in the crook of your elbow, behind your knees, at the front of your ankles, round your neck or around your eyes.

During a flare-up, atopic eczema can cause the skin to become extremely itchy, red, hot, dry and scaly. It may also be weeping and swollen.

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Chickenpox

Before developing a rash, there may be some mild flu-like symptoms. The rash normally appears behind the ears, on the face, scalp, under arms, on chest and stomach, and arms and legs.

The rash starts as small, itchy, red spots. After approximately 12 to 14 hours, these spots develop into fluid-filled blisters, which are intensely itchy.

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Hand, foot & mouth disease

The symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include: fever, loss of appetite, sore throat, raised spots on mouth, throat and skin and feeling unwell.

After 12 to 36 hours, the red spots develop into yellowy-red ulcers in your mouth, on your tongue and inside your cheeks. After one to two days, sores may start on hands and feet.

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Head lice

Head lice are tiny (pin-head sized) grey-brown, wingless insects that live by sucking blood from the scalp. Their eggs, which look like tiny white specks, are known as nits.

The presence of head lice is indicated by repeated itching of the scalp, or by detecting them in your hair. This can be done using a special fine-toothed comb, available from pharmacies.

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Measles

Measles symptoms are cold-like, such as runny nose, red eyes, swollen eyelids, sneezing, and a mild to severe temperature.

The rash is a red-brown spotty rash that appears three to four days after first symptoms, and lasts for up to eight days. It starts behind the ears, spreads around the head and neck, and after two to three days to the legs and the rest of the body.

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Mouth ulcer

A mouth ulcer will be round or oval, and inflamed around the edge. It will be white, yellow or grey. Most mouth ulcers appear inside the lips or the cheeks, on the floor of the mouth, or the underside of the tongue.

An ulcer can cause pain and discomfort, particularly when eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. Most mouth ulcers last between 10 and 14 days.

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Mumps

In mumps, one or both of the salivary glands swell up and become painful. This creates the characteristic 'hamster' appearance of a swollen face, particularly just below and in front of the ear.

Other symptoms include: sore throat, fever, feeling tired, loss of appetite, tummy pain, dry mouth and headache.

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Impetigo

The symptoms begin with the appearance of red sores, usually on the area around the nose and mouth. The sores quickly burst, leaving thick, yellow-brown golden crusts.

Sores are not painful, but they may be itchy. Other symptoms of infection, such as fever and swollen glands, are rare but may occur in more severe cases.

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Prickly heat

Prickly heat causes a rash made up of tiny spots, or bumps, surrounded by a patch of red skin. Sometimes, the spots look like tiny blisters. This rash may cause mild swelling, itching, stinging or a prickling sensation.

It can affect any part of your body, but most commonly appears on the back, abdomen, neck, upper chest; groin, armpits, hands or feet.

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Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes ring-like, red lesions on the skin. The skin appears red and inflamed around the rim yet healthy inside the rim.

The rings may multiply and grow, and rings can also merge together. The rings will feel slightly raised to the touch, and the skin under the rash may feel itchy.

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Scabies

Scabies causes your skin to feel intensely itchy. The scabies mites will also leave small red blotches and lines on your skin, which are the marks caused by them burrowing into your skin.

Burrow marks can be found anywhere including folds of skin, wrists, armpits, around the waist, inside the elbow, buttocks, soles of feet, knees, shoulder blades and trunk.

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Scarlet fever

Often starts with a sore throat or skin infection and fever. The rash appears 12-48 hours after the fever. At first it is red blotches, but turns into a pinkish-red rash that feels like sandpaper.

The rash spreads to other areas, commonly ears, neck, chest, elbows, thighs and groin. The rash will turn white if you press a glass on it.

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Slapped cheek syndrome

A distinctive blotchy red rash may begin to appear on your face which gives the appearance of 'slapped cheeks'.

The rash may become itchy and spread to your body and limbs and can take between one-three weeks to clear. It may also recur some time later after increased exposure to sunlight or heat.

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Tonsilitis

The main symptom of tonsillitis is a sore throat with red swollen tonsils.

Other common symptoms include white pus-filled spots on your tonsils, pain on swallowing, fever, coughing, headache, tiredness, pain in your ears or neck and swollen lymph nodes.

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Verruca

Verrucas (plantar warts) are warts on the soles of your feet, heels and toes. Verrucas do not stick up from the surface of the skin. Verrucas often have a black dot in the centre, surrounded by a hard, white area.

The weight of your body pushing down on them makes them grow back into your skin, which can be painful.

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Warts

Common warts (verruca vulgaris) are firm and raised, with a rough surface that can look a bit like a cauliflower.

They can occur anywhere, but are most common on knuckles, fingers, elbows and knees. The size of a wart can range from 1mm to more than 1cm.

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Visit the childhood conditions slideshow on NHS Choices.

NHS Choices 2012

Childhood conditions slideshow - Health tools - NHS Choices