My child has a rash – what should I do?


Su: “Rashes are very common in children and babies. Most rashes don't have a serious underlying cause, but some can be more significant. If you're worried, it's very important to go and see your GP or health visitor. Most babies will develop some kind of mild skin condition or rash in the first year of their life, as their skin adapts to their new environment. Most of these, however, will clear up on their own.


One of the most serious rashes, which needs immediate medical attention, is one which doesn't disappear when you press a tumbler on it and look through the tumbler.


This could be a sign of a condition called meningococcal septicaemia or meningitis. Other signs that you should look for include a high fever, a very irritable lethargic child, a child who is reluctant to feed.


And if you are at all worried, you should call 999 and seek medical help immediately. If your child has a red, itchy, dry rash that cracks and is in their elbows or behind their knees, this is probably eczema. You can go and see your GP for advice. If your child has a single, circular, red patch, this may be ringworm. This can usually be treated by some creams you can get from your chemist. If your child gets an itchy red rash, it can be caused by prickly heat.


This is due to your child being too hot and often overdressed, so that the sweat glands can't function properly. Make sure you take off as many clothes as possible and it will disappear within a few days. If your child has crusty yellow lesions, which are spreading, this may be impetigo, sometimes called non-bullous impetigo.


It's important to go along and see your GP, as it will need a course of antibiotics. If your child has red itchy spots that then become blisters, it may means that they have chicken pox.


You can ring your GP's surgery for advice, but the best thing to do is to keep them at home and away from other children. This is just a small selection of the sorts of rashes children can get. Many rashes are due to viruses and the rashes will just clear up by themselves.”