Some of the most common children’s illnesses come with spots and rashes on the skin. With the expert help of family GP Dr Philippa Kaye, we’ve put together a guide, with pictures, to help you identify the most common spots and rashes, including other symptoms to watch out for.
Please note that this article is for guidance only. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, it is always best to visit your GP.
Here are the most common children’s rashes and spots in pictures…
What does a chickenpox rash look like?
Typically chickenpox appears as crops of red spots, which then turn into small fluid-filled, itchy blisters. “Over a few days, the blisters crust over, forming little scabs, and then finally fade away,” says Dr Philippa.
Where on my child’s body will the chickenpox spots be? The spots can appear anywhere on the body, including on the scalp. They may be concentrated all in one place or they may spread to other areas of the body.
At what age can a child get chickenpox? Any age. Most children will catch chickenpox at some point; babies can catch it, too.
How common is chickenpox? Extremely common.
How can I tell it’s chickenpox and not something else?
“Initially, the little red spots look like lots of other things,” says Dr Philippa, “but the classic blistering rash that follows gives away the diagnosis.”
What are other chickenpox symptoms to look out for?
“Often a child may be unwell for a few days before the rash appears,” says Dr Philippa, “with a fever, aches and pains, and loss of appetite. By the time the rash appears, they are often feeling well again – but the rash can be very itchy.”
What do I do if I think my child has chickenpox?
You can treat the fever with age-appropriate doses of paracetamol and plenty of fluid. When the itching starts, you can give antihistamine for the itch (talk to a pharmacist first), or use soothing creams, such as calamine lotion or aloe vera gel. You shouldn’t need to see a GP, unless you’re concerned that the rash is infected or your child seems very unwell. Chickenpox is very infectious. “You should keep your child at home until all the spots have crusted over,” says Dr Philippa.
2. Heat rash or prickly heat
What does heat rash look like?
Heat rash is also known as miliaria or prickly heat. It appears as tiny little red bumps or blisters on the skin when your child gets too hot. They often sting or feel prickly.
Where on my child’s body will heat rash be? Anywhere – but often you’ll see them in body folds, where you get most hot and sweaty, says Dr Philippa. And Nina Goad from the British Association of Dermatologists adds that it often appears in places covered by clothing.
At what age can a child get heat rash? Any age.
How common is it? Pretty common, and obviously more common during hot weather. But it’s possible to get it at any time of the year – it can just happen when your child overheats.
How can I tell it’s heat rash and not something else?
Lots of rashes and spots look similar but heat rash is an obvious first guess if it’s a hot day and/or your child has been doing something to get them overheated and sweaty.
What are other heat rash symptoms to look out for?
The spots may be accompanied by redness and mild swelling. And the rash can be itchy, as well as stingy or prickly.
What do I do if I think my child has heat rash?
It usually goes away on its own, but you can also ease symptoms with a cool bath and calamine lotion. “Keep your little one cool and give plenty of fluids to drink,” says Dr Philippa. “Dressing in cool natural fabrics, such as cotton, can help.”
You don’t usually need to see a doctor, unless you’re worried your child is very dehydrated.
3. Meningitis rash
What does a meningitis rash look like?
The meningitis rash usually looks like little pin pricks which spread quickly and then become purple or red blotches. It is a non-blanching rash – this means that the rash doesn’t fade when pressure is applied. “Roll a glass over the rash,” says Dr Philippa. “If it doesn’t fade when you press on it with a glass (like a freckle wouldn’t fade), then call 999.”
Where on my child’s body will the meningitis rash be? It could appear anywhere to start with.
At what age can a child get meningitis? Any age.
How common is it? Thankfully less common than it used to be with the advent of meningitis vaccinations.
How can I tell it’s meningitis and not something else?
“A non-blanching rash can occur for other reasons,” says Dr Philippa, “but if your child is unwell with a non-blanching rash then you should seek urgent medical help.
What are other meningitis symptoms to look out for?
Your child will probably, and suddenly, be very unwell, with some or all of the following symptoms: a high fever, floppiness, cold fingers and toes, drowsiness or unresponsiveness, looking blue, and having an odd cry.
What do I do if I think my child has meningitis?
You should seek urgent medical help.
What does a measles rash look like?
A fine red rash that starts small and becomes blotchy. On black skin, no redness shows but the surface of the skin will feel rough, like sandpaper.
Where on my child’s body will the measles rash be? It often starts on the head or neck and then moves down the body.
At what age can a child get measles? Any age but it’s most common among children between 1 and 4 years old.
How common is measles? “Measles is not too common now because of the MMR immunisation,” says Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol. “But anyone who has not been properly vaccinated is potentially at risk.”
How can I tell it’s measles and not something else?
The measles rash can look similar to a rubella rash, a roseola rash or a scarlet fever rash. But children with measles will often have small, greyish-white spots (called Koplik’s spots) on the inside of their cheeks before the main body rash appears.
What are other measles symptoms to look out for?
“Children with measles are generally unwell with high fever, sore, red eye, a dry cough and a runny nose,” says Dr Philippa. They may also show sensitivity to light.
What do I do if I think my child has measles?
Phone your GP, says Dr Philippa. “You will be seen,” she says, “but you may be asked to wait in a side room to avoid infecting others. Measles is a notifiable disease, which means that the condition must be reported by your doctor to Public Health.
“Give your child plenty of fluids and age-appropriate doses of medications to reduce the fever. Your child should not return to school until they’re fully recovered and it’s at least 4 days after the rash first appeared.”
Measles: more about symptoms and treatment
What does an eczema rash look like?
“Very dry skin with patches that are red (or, in black children, paler/darker than surrounding skin) and inflamed,” says Dr Philippa. “The skin may crack and become weepy and infected.”
Where on my child’s body will the eczema be? It can occur anywhere on the body but, in babies, it’s more common on on the face, arms and legs. For toddlers and older children, you tend to see it on their hands and around their joints, such as the insides of elbows and wrists or on the backs of knees.
At what age can a child get eczema? Children can get it from as early as 2 months old.
How common is eczema? It is actually the most common skin condition in young children, affecting 15 to 20% of children, regardless of the colour of their skin. “But many affected children do seem to grow out of it,” says Dr Philippa.
How can I tell it’s eczema and not something else?
The rash will be often specific to the face or to skin creases. “It’s often on the flexural aspects of the body,” says Dr Philippa. “That’s the insides of the elbows, wrists and knees, under the neck, and on the face.” And it’s very itchy.
Eczema are usually caused, or made worse, by a trigger. Coarse fabrics, for example, or washing powder or house dust or animal fur or central heating are all known triggers.
What are other eczema symptoms to look out for?
The awful itchiness of eczema means it’s impossible for your child not to scratch – and that may cause secondary infections, leading to large, weepy or crusty areas of skin.
What do I do if I think my child has eczema?
“All dry skin conditions need moisture,” says Dr Philippa. “So, avoid using soaps and perfumed products that can strip the skin of moisture. Instead, use simple emollients which are available over the counter. Apply them regularly, after every nappy change, or at least 4 times a day. The skin should be shiny with the emollient: every time it sucks it up and looks dry, it needs more. If this isn’t enough the doctor may prescribe other creams such as steroids.”
6. German measles (also known as rubella)
What does a rubella /German measles rash look like?
Tiny, separate pink-red spots, which may merge to form patches.
Where on my child’s body will the rubella / German measles rash be? It usually starts on the forehead and behind the ears, and then spreads to the head, neck, trunk, legs and arms.
At what age can a child get German measles? Any age.
How common is German measles? “Less common since the advent of the MMR vaccine,” says Dr Philippa, “although cases have been on the up in places like the US, where uptake of the vaccine has reduced.”
How can I tell it’s German measles / rubella and not something else?
It does look like lots of other viral rashes (and, if your child has had the MMR vaccine, it’s obviously much, much more likely actually to be a viral rash). The German measles rash is often accompanied by swollen glands at the back of the neck or behind the ears.
What are other German measles / rubella symptoms to look out for?
A child who has German measles will often be unwell with a fever for 1-2 days before the rash appears, and may also have a runny nose and conjunctivitis. German measles can also cause aching wrists, fingers or knees.
What do I do if my child has German measles / rubella?
German measles is a mild infection but it is notifiable because it can be serious if caught by a pregnant woman. “If you are concerned your child has rubella, phone your GP and expect to have to wait in a side room,” says Dr Philippa. “Rubella tends to last about a week; your child will be asked to stay at home for 4 days after the onset of the rash.”
What does impetigo look like?
There are two types of impetigo: bullous impetigo and non-bullous impetigo, says Dr Clive Grattan, consultant dermatologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London. “Bullous impetigo causes large, painless fluid-filled blisters, and non-bullous impetigo causes sores that rupture quickly and leave a yellowy brown crust.”
Where on my child’s body will the impetigo be? It is usually clustered on the face (especially around the nose and mouth) and on the neck and hands. But it can appear anywhere on the body, including around the waist.
At what age can a child get impetigo? It’s most common among 2 to 5-year-olds.
How common is impetigo? “It is pretty common in childhood,” Dr Philippa says, “and it’s highly contagious.”
How can I tell if it’s impetigo and not something else?
Impetigo can look a bit like cold sores – because of blisters that tend to cluster around the mouth. But the spots don’t tingle like cold sores do, and they tend to ooze cloudy yellow liquid before they crust over. Also, impetigo (a bacterial infection) tends to attack skin that’s already damaged – by, for example, cuts, scratches or insect bites.
What are other impetigo symptoms to look out for?
There aren’t really any. “Children are generally not unwell with impetigo,” says Dr Philippa, “although, of course, it can be very uncomfortable.”
What do I do if I think my child has impetigo?
“If you are concerned your child has impetigo, take them to the doctor,” says Dr Philippa. “They will be treated either with an antibiotic cream or antibiotics.
“It can take a couple of weeks to clear up. You will be asked to keep your child at home until all the lesions have crusted and healed – or for 48 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment.”
What does ringworm look like?
It appears as a round, red patch of skin that can be itchy or scaly. It will spread in circumference as it progresses and it may be blistered or raised or cause a swelling. It’s actually a fungal infection and has nothing to do with worms.
Where on my child’s body will ringworm be? “It can occur anywhere on the body or scalp,” Dr Philippa says. “When it’s on the scalp, the rash doesn’t tend to be so round – you may notice it under a bald spot on your toddler’s head.”
At what age can a child get ringworm? Generally between the ages of 10 and 12. Adults rarely get it.
How common is ringworm? Very!
How can I tell if it’s ringworm and not something else?
There are a few things that look similar – including some spider bites, nummular eczema and Lyme disease.
What are other symptoms of ringworm to look out for?
As we’ve mentioned, ringworm is mainly about the rash. “Generally a red, round or oval-shaped lesion with an outer ring of scale, or the whole area may feel scaly,” says Dr Philippa. “Ringworm doesn’t make you unwell: occasionally it can be itchy.”
What do I do if I think my child has ringworm?
“Your local pharmacist may be able to advise on an appropriate antifungal cream or go to your GP for advice,” says Dr Philippa.
She adds that it can last a few weeks, and depending on the antifungal used you may need to continue using the cream for a week or so after the rash has gone.
It is infectious but your child doesn’t have to stay off school with it.
9. Slapped Cheek Syndrome or Fifth disease
What does Slapped Cheek Syndrome look like?
“A bright red rash on the cheeks, which can look slightly lacy or raised,” says Dr Philippa. “It looks as the name sounds – as if you have been slapped round the face! A few days after there may be a fine, paler rash over the body.”
Where on my child’s body will Slapped Cheek be? The rash starts on your child’s cheeks and, approximately 4 days later, spreads to their chest, stomach and legs a few days later.
At what age can a child get Slapped Cheek? Usually between the ages of 4 and 10.
How common is Slapped Cheek? It is the fifth most common disease in children. It is spread by droplets of saliva, which can be inhaled when infected children cough or sneeze around your child, or when they touch things that have droplets of saliva on them, and then touch their own mouth or nose.
How can I tell if it’s Slapped Cheek syndrome or something else?
As the name suggests, the rash will appear on the cheeks – and your child might also have telltale cold symptoms too.
What are other symptoms of Slapped Cheek syndrome to look out for?
“Children tend to be unwell for a day or so before the rash appears, with a fever, cough or runny nose and decreased appetite,” says Dr Philippa.
What do I do if I think my child has Slapped Cheek?
“Treat any fever if your child is unwell – give plenty of fluids – but otherwise no treatment is generally needed,” Dr Philippa advises. She adds that there’s no need for them to stay off school unless they have a fever.
Dr Philippa does advise that if you are exposed to it when you are pregnant you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
10. Hand, foot and mouth disease
What does hand, foot and mouth disease look like?
“A rash forms on the hands and feet which can then turn into blisters (which may be filled with a greyish looking fluid). Ulcers or white lesions also appear in the mouth,” says Dr Philippa.
Where on my child’s body will hand, foot and mouth disease be? On the hands and feet, with ulcers appearing in the mouth.
At what age can a child get hand, foot and mouth disease? It’s most common among 2 to 10 year olds.
How can I tell if it’s hand, foot and mouth disease or something else?
Look out for spots in the places we’ve mentioned (sometimes also on the buttocks). It is also often accompanied by fever.
What are other hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms to look out for?
Fever, reduced appetite and then the rash are all early symptoms – the rash can then go on to develop into painful blisters.
What do I do if I think my child has hand, foot and mouth disease?
“You don’t need to do anything in particular apart from give plenty of fluids and medicines to bring the fever down if required or to treat pain,” says Dr Philippa.
“Cold drinks or ice lollies may ease a sore mouth.” She adds there is no need for your child to stay off school with it.
11. Nappy rash
What does nappy rash look like?
Sore, angry, red skin, which can sometimes look quite pimply too.
Where on my child’s body will nappy rash be? On or around your baby’s bottom and genitals.
At what age can a child get nappy rash? Any baby who wears nappies can get it. Babies who suffer from eczema or dry skin are more prone to nappy rash but it also occurs if your baby’s nappies have been left on for too long when wet.
How can I tell if it’s nappy rash or something else?
If it’s in the ‘nappy’ area and looks read and sore it’s probably nappy rash.
What are other nappy rash symptoms to look out for?
You might seem some blisters and your baby could be distressed and clearly uncomfortable.
What do I do if I think my child has nappy rash?
Annette Maloney, Children’s and families Clinical Services Manager at CSH Surrey, says the best way to prevent nappy rash is to change your baby’s nappy as soon as it’s wet or dirty.
“Clean your little one’s bottom thoroughly at each change starting at the front and working towards her bottom, using mild wipes or plain water, then gently pat dry, particularly in the creases,” says Annette.
And if it’s really bad, let your little one have some time without a nappy on. “Put your baby on a towel covered mat on the floor with no nappy so that the air can circulate and help the nappy rash clear up,” she adds.
What does roseola look like?
The roseola rash consists of flat, red spots that are around 2-3mm in width, some have raised areas, but the rash isn’t itchy.
It is accompanied by a sudden high temperature of around 40°C, a sore throat, diarrhoea, a cough and a runny nose.
Where on my child’s body will the roseola rash be? “It tends to start on the trunk – chest and back, before spreading to the rest of the body,” says Dr Philippa.
At what age can a child get roseola? It’s most common in children aged 6 months old to 3 years.
How common is it? It’s a common childhood infection.
How can I tell if it’s roseola and not something else?
People sometimes get roseola mixed up with measles – but measles goes from head to foot rather than starting on the trunk like roseola. Look out also for a cold, sore throat and fever-like symptoms.
What are other symptoms of roseola to look out for?
It usually starts with a fever – and once that’s gone, the rash will appear.
What do I do if I think my child has roseola?
“No specific treatment is required, bar plenty of fluids, rest and treating any fever if required,” says Dr Philippa. She adds that your child doesn’t need to stay off school unless they feel very unwell.
13. Hives – also known as nettle rash or urticaria
What do/does hives / nettle rash / Urticaria look like?
Also known as urticaria or nettle rash, hives appear as red and white raised, itchy welts.
Where on my child’s body will the Urticaria rash (or hives or nettle rash) be? You can get them on any part of the body, often they are limited to one part, but they can spread. Often they disappear from one place and then appear on another.
At what age can a child get hives / nettle rash / Urticaria? At any age – they are often caused by an allergic reaction to drugs, such as antibiotics, food, such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs or cheese; or excessive exercise.
How common are hives / nettle rash / Urticaria ? “Fairly common – 1 in 5 people will get hives at some point in their lives,” says Dr Philippa.
How can I tell if it’s hives / nettle rash / Urticaria and not something else?
The main symptom of hives is the red, raised, blotches or welts – which can be quite large, or merge together – and it can be very itchy. There aren’t usually any other symptoms, though advises Dr Philippa, If it is accompanied by facial swelling or difficulties breathing seek urgent medical help.”
What do I do if I think my child has hives / nettle rash / Urticaria?
In most cases, the symptoms will be mild and the hives will get better on their own. Antihistamines can help calm hives down, but speak to your pharmacist about the appropriate dose first. If your child’s symptoms get worse or treatment doesn’t work, see your GP.
And, Dr Philippa reiterates, if there is facial swelling or difficulty breathing – call 999.
14. Molluscum contagiosum
What does Molluscum contagiosum look like?
“They are small, pearly raised dome-shaped lesions which often have a central dimple in them,” advises Dr Philippa. “If you squeeze one a thick yellowish substance would come out – but don’t as this is how the infection spreads.”
Where on my child’s body will Molluscum contagiosum spots be? They can appear anywhere, but children are most likely to have them on their hands, arms, face, neck, chest and stomach. “In most cases, otherwise healthy children and adults will have around 20 spots on their body,” says the NHS.
At what age can a child get Molluscum contagiosum? Children who are under 5 are most likely to get it, as are those with a weak immune system. But anyone can get it at any age.
How common is Molluscum contagiosum? Common in childhood.
How can I tell if it’s Molluscum contagiosum and not something else?
It doesn’t really look like a rash – and while you may get one or 2 confused with a wart / hard lump of skin as your child will probably get around 20 on their body you’ll probably know it’s something else.
They might be itchy – but your child won’t be unwell because of Molluscum contagiosum.
What do I do if I think my child has Molluscum contagiosum?
“Nothing. Leave them well alone as if left alone the lesions will eventually disappear and heal without scarring as the child’s immune system fights the virus,” says Dr Philippa. ” Treatments can encourage scarring. They take a long time to disappear though, generally 18 months or longer.”
Molluscum contagiosum is contagious – and can be spread by touching or sharing towels / flannels etc – but your child doesn’t need to be excluded from school with it.
15. Scarlet fever
What does scarlet fever look like?
“The rash of scarlet fever is pinky red, raised and feels like sandpaper which tends to start on the tummy,” advises Dr Philippa. “The tongue develops a white coating which then peels, leaving a red swollen tongue – called strawberry tongue as it looks like a strawberry! The cheeks can be red and flushed but the area around the mouth is not affected – perioral sparing.”
Where on my child’s body scarlet fever be? “The rash affects the body and tongue – but the area around the mouth isn’t affected,” says Dr Philippa.
At what age can a child get scarlet fever? It’s most common in children aged between 5 and 15 years old.
How common is scarlet fever? “It is a relatively common childhood infection, though less usual in under 3s,” advises Dr Philippa.
How can I tell if it’s scarlet fever and not something else?
It can look like a bad sunburn – and usually comes after a number of other symptoms (see next question).
What are other symptoms of scarlet fever to look out for?
“There tends to be a fever and sore throat a few days before the rash appears,” Dr Philippa tells us.
What do I do if I think my child has scarlet fever?
“If you are concerned that your child has scarlet fever they need to see a doctor,” says Dr Philippa. “The condition is treated with antibiotics.”
She adds that scarlet fever is a notifiable disease: this means your child will need to stay at home until 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.
16. Lyme disease
What does Lyme disease look like?
“The classic rash of early Lyme disease looks like a bullseye, a circular red ring, which may be raised, around a central tick bite,” advises Dr Philippa. “It tends to appear within 4 weeks of the bite, but can take up to 3 months.”
Where on my child’s body will the Lyme disease mark be? It can occur anywhere on the body.
At what age can a child get Lyme disease? It’s most common in children aged 5 to 9 years old.
How common is Lyme disease? “That depends where you live – it’s more common in more rural regions,” Dr Philippa tells us.
How can I tell it’s Lyme disease and not something else?
Ringworm and some spider bites can look similar.
What are other symptoms of Lyme disease to look out for?
“Early stage Lyme disease can have no symptoms or may be associated with headaches, joint pains, fatigue and fever,” says Dr Philippa. “The rash is not always present.”
What do I do if my child has Lyme disease?
“See your doctor – the treatment for Lyme disease involves antibiotics, generally a 3-week course, and it is important to finish the whole course,” advises Dr Philippa.
17. Milk spots (milia)
What do milk spots look like?
Tiny, pearly white spots that feel hard to the touch.
Photo: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Where on my child’s body will milk spots be? Usually around the eyes, cheeks, bridge of the nose and across the forehead, although they can also appear on your baby’s back and chest.
At what age can a child get milk spots? Milk spots generally appear on young babies, sometimes from newborn.
How common are milk spots? Very common in babies.
How can I tell it’s milk spot and not something else?
Milk spots do look a bit like whiteheads, but if they’re on a newborn baby and on the face – they’re probably milk spots.
What are other symptoms of milk pots to look out for?
Your baby won’t have itching or fever caused by milk spots. But they may have small bumps on the roof of their mouth, on their gums and on their genitalia too.
What do I do if my baby has milk spots?
As milk spots only last for a few weeks and cause no harm, the best thing to do is leave them alone. Picking or prising out the spot could cause scarring as this will break the skin surface, which acts as a natural protective barrier.
What does scabies look like?
“Scabies can be quite difficult to see. Sometimes you can see burrows of the mites – a silvery line with a darker dot at the end. Not everyone will develop a more widespread rash – but small red spots can appear anywhere on the body, often between the fingers,” says Dr Philippa.
Where on my child’s body will scabies be? It can occur anywhere on the body but the rash or burrows are often found on the wrists/between the fingers.
At what can a child get scabies? Children of any age can get scabies.
How common is scabies? Scabies is quite a common skin condition.
How can I tell it’s scabies and not something else?
Scabies can look like blisters or pimples – the difference will be the grey / silvery lines you might see with a dot at the end.
What are other symptoms of scabies to look out for?
Intense itching is usually the first sign of scabies – especially after a warm bath or shower.
What do I do if I think my child has scabies?
“Your pharmacist may be able to help diagnose the condition, or your local GP,’ says Dr Philippa. “Scabies is treated by a skin cream/lotion to kill the mites, and the treatment is repeated after a wee.”
Dr Philippa adds that scabies is infectious: everyone in the household will need to be treated if a family member is infected. Your child will need to stay off school until after the first scabies treatment.
19. Cradle cap
What does cradle cap look like?
Flaky, scaly skin that can look quite unsightly and crusty.
Where on my child’s body will cradle cap be? On your baby’s scalp.
At what age can babies get cradle cap? Babies can get cradle cap from 2 weeks to a year old.
How common is cradle cap? It is fairly common in newborns – and the instances rise as babies gets to around 3 months.
How can I tell it’s cradle cap and not something else?
If’ it’s on a young baby’s head, and looks flaky/scaly – it’s most likely to be cradle cap.
What are other symptoms of cradle cap to look out for?
Cradle cap can become itchy and red – and your baby may develop a fever with it.
What do I do if I think my child has cradle cap?
Cradle cap usually lasts around 2 weeks but the important thing is never to pick or scratch off the scales as this will make the skin sore. Leave them to drop off naturally,” says midwife, Karina Dyer.
“You can help it by massaging vegetable oil into the scalp at night, then gently wash it out with a mild shampoo in the morning. If it persists though, see your GP.”
20. Cold sores
What do cold sores look like?
Small blisters that appear usually on the lips (sometimes on the nose, or going down the chin)… they are pus-filled and scab over in 5 to 10 days.
Where on my child’s body will cold sores be? They tend to be on the face, most often around the lips.
At what age can a child get cold sores? Children tend to start getting them around the age of 5. They are rare among newborns – but can be very serious if a young baby gets them.
How common are cold sores? Extremely common.
How can I tell if it’s cold sores and not something else?
Cold sores can look a bit like impetigo – though impetigo can appear on parts of the body than the mouth.
What are other symptoms of cold sores to look out for?
“A cold sore tends to be felt before the lesion appears, with a tingling/burning sensation in the area,” advises Dr Philippa. “Over the next 48 hours of so small blisters appear in a cluster, which then burst and then scab over.” It can take around 10 days for them to heal fully.
What do I do if I think my child has a cold sore?
“You can get over-the-counter antiviral ointment from your local pharmacy,” says Dr Philippa. “It is best to apply this as soon as you notice the tingling sensation – you don’t need to wait for the lesion to appear.”
21. Baby acne
What does baby acne look like?
Like acne, funnily enough. In other words, red spots that are raised, angry looking and filled with fluid or pus.
Where on my child’s body will baby acne be? It’s usually on the neck, upper back and chest – it rarely appears anywhere else.
At what age can a child get baby acne? It tends to break out in babies up to a month after they are born and often gets worse before it clears up (within a few weeks or months.)
How common is baby acne? It is a common conditions in babies.
How can I tell if it’s baby acne and not something else?
It can look similar to eczema.
What are other symptoms of baby acne to look out for?
Your baby might also have mild skin inflammation around the acne.
What do I do if I think my child has baby acne?
Avoid over-washing your baby and only use mild products, if any at all. “If it’s a severe case, the best thing is to see a dermatologist who’ll treat the problem with special creams,” advises Dr Tim Clayton of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.
22. Oral thrush
What does oral thrush look like?
A white coating on your baby’s tongue and white spots in the mouth, that don’t rub off.
Where on my child’s body will oral thrush be? On the tongue and inside the mouth.
At what age can a child get oral thrush? Around one in 20 newborn babies are affected by oral thrush, caused by a yeast called Candida Albicans.
How can I tell if it’s oral thrush and not something else?
The thrush may look like leftover milk, but when wiped away it will leave sore areas which can bleed.
What are other symptom of oral thrush to look out for?
Your baby may be reluctant to feed and pull away with thrush as it can be painful.
What do I do if I think my baby has thrush?
Although it’s not harmful, you and your little one will both need to be treated for thrush as it can pass back and forth when breastfeeding. Your baby may not show any symptoms but it can make breastfeeding very painful for mums if left untreated.
“Your GP will probably prescribe an antifungal medication and the pain should start to ease after a few days. You can carry on breastfeeding although short feeds may be more comfortable than longer ones,” says Health Visitor Annette Maloney.
23. Erythema toxicum – ererythema toxicorum neonatorum
What does erythema toxicum look like?
A red pimply rash
Where on my child’s body will erythema toxicum be? All over the body.
At what age can a child get erythema toxicum? It’s a newborn rash, known as erythema that occurs 24 hours after birth.
How can I tell if it’s erythema toxicum and not something else?
As it’s so common – 4 or 5 out of 10 babies get it – and is commoner in babies born at full term, if you have a new full-term baby who gets a rash like this, erythema toxicum could well be what they have.
Also note it tends to appear in the first 2 weeks of life and is commoner in summer/autumn babies.
What are other symptoms of erythema toxicum to look out for?
Your baby won’t have any symptoms other than the rash with erythema toxicum.
What do I do if I think my baby has erythema toxicum?
“No treatment is needed and it goes away on its own in a few days, and in almost all cases within 2 weeks. The baby is well in themselves with it and drinks as normal,” Dr Philippa tells us.
“If you think your baby has it but they are well no action is needed – if you aren’t sure or your baby is unwell seek medical advice.”
Dr Philippa Kaye works as a GP in both NHS and private practice. She attended Downing College, Cambridge, then took medical studies at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s medical schools in London, training in paediatrics, gynaecology, care of the elderly, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Dr Philippa has also written a number of books, including ones on child health, diabetes in childhood and adolescence. She is a mum of 3.