Viral Skin Rash in Children

Written by kelly sundstrom
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Viral skin rash in children is contagious, and should be treated as a serious matter. Although common, a viral rash in children is usually accompanied by a fever and body aches. It is important to know what specific viral illness your child might have so that you can seek the appropriate medical treatment.

Viral Skin Rash in Children
Viral Rash in Children ("Beach Baby" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: nyki_m (Nicole Makauskas) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)


The most common types of viral rash in children are also extremely contagious. These include chicken pox, measles, fifth disease and scarlet fever.


These viruses start out with a mild to moderate fever, and a rash which will appear differently depending on the illness. Chicken pox causes small, extremely itchy, blistery bumps all over the torso, back, arms, face and legs. Scarlet fever causes a prickly, bright red rash to appear on the chest and arms. Measles creates a pink to brown rash that starts on the face and migrates down the arms and chest. Fifth disease creates bright red patches on the cheeks, which spreads down the body after a few days.


Any time a contagious viral rash is present, the afflicted child must be separated from other children so as not to spread the virus to others. Children with chicken pox are contagious until the blistery blemishes have dried up completely and are all healing. For scarlet fever, measles and fifth disease, children should rest at home until no fever or rash remains. Doctors will sometimes recommend cough suppressants, anti-itch lotions and fever reducers to make the child feel more comfortable while the body fights off the infection.


In certain viral infections, such as scarlet fever, fevers can spike to a high level. The rash of the chicken pox virus is extremely itchy, and if scratched repeatedly can cause scarring. Applying calamine lotion can relieve the itching and reduce the chance of scarring.

Seeking Medical Attention

Talk to your doctor any time your child seems uncommunicative or out of sorts. If a child's fever reaches over 103 degrees F, or remains for more than two to three days, seek medical attention.

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