Many parents worry about childhood illnesses. Find out what those rashes or spots are on your toddler and how to treat or soothe them
Your toddler might get weird-looking rashes and spots as she grows up. Our guide will help you work out what it could be and how to deal with it.
Tiny white spots with a red outline (called Koplik’s spots), followed a few days later by a fine red rash that starts small and becomes blotchy.
Koplik’s spots develop in the mouth, on the cheeks. The rash typically starts behind the ears and then spreads to the body.
“Measles is not to common now because of immunisation,” says Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol. “But anyone who has not been properly vaccinated is potentially at risk.”
If you think your child has measles, you should contact your GP. Most cases need rest, fluids and fever-reducing medicine, but in a few cases complications can occur, so be watchful.
Crops of red spots, which turn into small, fluid-filled, itchy blisters that break and then scab over.
Anywhere on the body. Several crops of spots may develop over a few days.
Anyone who has not had chickenpox.
Normally no treatment is necessary, but your child is infectious from two days before the rash emerges until all the spots have crusted over.
With chicken pox, older children and adults tend to get more sick than young children, but those with weak immunity are especially likely to get seriously ill.
Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol
“Jude was 11 months when he caught chickenpox. He came up in small blisters all around the nappy area, which crusted over after three days. That’s when they really itched, but luckily he was too young to pick the spots. The scabs then gradually dropped off. It was all over quite quickly really.”
Gemma, mum to Zoe, 7, Freya, 5, and Jude, 3
A red rash of spots that feel itchy or prickly. It occurs when pores become blocked – as your toddler sweats, bumps form because blocked glands can’t clear sweat
Anywhere on the body, but often in places covered by clothing. “It can also occur in skin creases,” says Nina Goad from the British Association of Dermatologists.
Anyone can get it, but babies and young children are more likely to be affected as their sweat glands are under-developed.
“Heat rash is a sign your child is too warm, so keep her cool and make sure she isn’t dehydrated,” says Nina. It usually goes away on its own, but ease symptoms with a cool bath and calamine lotion.
Small dome-like spots with a shiny surface. They may be pink, and have a cheesy plug in the centre.
Anywhere on the body.
It’s most common in children, young adults and people who have atopic eczema.
Molluscum can clear up on its own, but may take 6 to 18 months, and because it’s contagious you should make sure you don’t share your toddler’s towels and flannels with others in your family. The homeopathic remedy thuja may have good results with molluscum.
Red, sore patches with small lumps or blisters. Sometimes the lumps can ooze fluid and if scratched, patches of skin can become thickened.
There are several different types of eczema, the most common being atopic eczema.
It can affect any part of your toddler’s skin, including her face, but the areas most commonly affected are her inner elbows, behind her knees, and around her wrists and neck.
It usually starts when your toddler is a young baby. Eczema is the most prevalent skin disease in children, affecting at least one in 10 babies.
“Apply a fragrance-free emollient or moisturiser every day, or every few hours if necessary, to protect the skin and prevent it drying out,” says Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists, "Your pharmacist should be able to recommend a fragrance-free emollient or moisturizer for eczema.
Nina adds, "Avoid detergents, soaps and bubble bath, as they can strip the skin’s natural oils."
Warts are small, rough-surfaced, skin-coloured lumps, which often appear on the hands and feet.
Warts can occur anywhere on the body. Warts on the feet are called verrucas and tend to grow inwards, with a black centre.
Warts aren’t common in babies but are often found in children and teenagers. They are spread by skin-to-skin contact. Moist conditions and wet skin on the foot make it easier to catch verrucas.
“Not all warts need to be treated”, says Bevis Man, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation. “Many will go away by themselves, or an over-the-counter treatment is often successful.”
“Florence had five stubborn verrucas on her feet. We tried over-the-counter remedies without success, then someone told me about silver duct tape. You put it on the verruca, then every week file them with an emery board and reapply the tape. We did this for about five weeks and they disappeared one by one. Amazing!”
Kate, 38, mum to Anya, 8, and Florence, 3
Most complaints are harmless and won’t last into adulthood or develop complications, but it’s a good idea to have any rash checked by your GP.
You should call your doctor immediately if:
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