It’s important to know about the different childhood skin problems that children commonly experience. Sometimes people don’t find out about these until it happens to their child. But, understanding about these skin problems that might happen will help lessen the fear, and help you be prepared and maybe even prevent some of them.
* Hives – These are raised itchy, red and white welts that are a sign of an allergy of some kind. They can be caused by skin contact or by something that was ingested or breathed though the air. Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what caused the outbreak. It might require allergy tests and blood tests to help determine the cause. Usually they can be treated successfully with a normal dose of Benadryl.
* Ringworm – This circular red, scaly, itchy rash is caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes. It’s not even a worm at all, but gets its name because it looks like a round worm under the skin. It can be spread by towels and other contact with the fungus. To treat ringworm, just wash with soap and water and then treat dried rash with antifungal cream per the directions on the package. Keep covered to avoid transmitting to others and spreading.
* Fifth Disease – A red rash that makes the sufferer look as if they have been slapped. The rash usually spreads to the rest of the body and has a lacy pattern. This skin condition is usually so mild that many children who get it aren’t even diagnosed because they barely noticed they had it. Some kids get a low grade fever and mild cold symptoms. Because of the fact that the rash’s appearance means the child is no longer contagious, there is nothing to do to prevent the illness. To treat it, use doctor recommended creams for the rash if it itches, and treat the other symptoms separately if needed.
* Chickenpox – This is a very contagious disease that is becoming less common due to the creation and use of the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, and creates a blistering rash that itches and also sometimes causing fatigue and fever. Treatment consists of using something to relieve itching like chamomile lotion and treating other systems such as fever or sore throat. While usually mild, chickenpox can be very serious for those who are immune compromised. It is recommended that everyone get the vaccine.
* Impetigo – This is a very common skin infection that causes blisters and sores on the face, neck, hands and potentially the area covered by a diaper. It’s spread by either staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus progenies. Sadly, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus is also a cause of impetigo and has serious consequences since it can’t be easily treated. Treatment is with antibiotics when possible, and keeping the area clean and dry. Watching young children’s hands and face often can be a preventative measure.
* Warts – These skin growths that often grow on a child’s hands are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV. Warts typically go away on their own. They’re spread very easily with skin contact, by sharing towels, or other personal items like razors. You can treat them with over-the-counter solutions and even duct tape. There is no cure for the HPV virus.
* Heat Rash - This red rash that is often accompanied by small blisters is caused by hot, humid conditions combined with tight clothing that doesn’t breathe easily. Heat rash goes away when the skin cools off. You can treat it at home easily just by cooling the area. The only issue that can happen is if you catch a secondary skin infection, making the rash worse.
* Contact Dermatitis – This happens to the skin after it comes into contact with an irritant. It’s usually red, itchy and inflamed. Usually, there is nothing to do but try to relieve discomfort and keeping the area clean to prevent secondary infections. Also, it might be important to identify the cause to avoid it in the future.
* Coxsackie – This virus and skin condition is often called “hand, foot and mouth disease” due to the rash on the hands, feet and inside the mouth. Some children also get sore throat. The risk of more serious infections such as meningitis is something that you must watch out for.
* Eczema – This is just an itchy rash that looks like dry patches of skin. It can easily be treated with creams and lotions. Many times if you treat the underlying condition such as allergies, the symptoms go away.
Don’t allow these childhood skin conditions to frighten you. It’s a little scary at first learning about them but now you know about them there's no need to panic if you see signs of one of these skin problems in your child. Thankfully, the most dangerous skin conditions have vaccines now.