Two Childhood Rashes That Could Be Dangerous

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Parents should always be concerned when their child develops an unexplained rash.  This article discusses two rashes that could cause serious complications.  The first rash is caused by Roseola.

Rash Caused By Roseola

Roseola or Roseola Infantum is usually considered to be a minor illness.   This viral illness is quite common in infants and appears only occasionally in adults.  It is caused by strains of the herpes virus.  The first symptom is a rise in temperature.  This will be quite sudden and the temperature can be up to 103 degrees.   The fever may last for several days before the rash appears.  The rash is rosy pink and appears on the chest, arms, neck and torso.  The rash spots may be surrounded by a border of white.    They may be flat or raised.  In many cases, the disease is so mild and the rash so faint as to be almost invisible.  In some cases there may be some diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting usually caused by the fever.

If the fever is mild, it can be treated at home by administering lots of liquids.  If the child seems uncomfortable, you can, with your doctor’s approval, give infant doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  Never give aspirin to anyone under twenty-one year of age, as it can cause Ryes syndrome, a potentially deadly condition.

The Roseola rash itself does not cause any discomfort to the child.  The danger lies in the high temperature.  As it comes on quite suddenly and rises rapidly, it can cause seizures.  Seizures can cause unconsciousness and flailing limbs.  If you child has any seizures, see you physician immediately.  It is also wise to see your physician if the temperature lasts more than seven day and if the rash does not disappear completely in about three days.

Since Roseola is a contagious disease, it can be spread to anyone who comes in contact with the victim.  Those with compromised immune systems are most likely victims.   These people will find it harder to fight the infection and may develop more serious complications including pneumonia and encephalitis.

The best way to protect yourself and others is to wash hands regularly and keep your child away from others who are ill.  If your child has Roseola, keep him/her at home until symptoms pass.  Protect those in the home who are elderly or ill.

Rash Caused By Fifth Disease

The second rash is caused by Fifth Disease (erythema infectiosum).  It is a mild viral illness whose main symptom is a red lacy rash on the face, legs, arms, torso, and buttocks.  The rash may come and go for several weeks, seemingly in response to sunshine and heat.  It is also called slapped-face disease because the rash on the cheeks become excessively red.  There may also be a slight fever at the onset of the disease.

Fifth disease occurs mostly in young children but can be seen at any age.  The best treatment is to keep the child comfortable and watch for any significant rise in temperature.  The disease will usually run its course and all symptoms will disappear on their own.  Fifth disease is however contagious so patients should be kept indoors, away from the elderly and ill.  As long as the rash is present, the disease is contagious.

Unless accompanied by high fever, Fifth Disease is usually harmless to children.  However, adults who contact the disease, may develop swollen, aching joints.  Again those with compromised immune systems are in greatest danger.

Anyone with Fifth Disease should not be in contact with pregnant woman, as the virus can infect an unborn child, where, in a small percent of cases it can cause death.

Remember that viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.  The best treatment for both Roseola and Fifth Disease are rest, lots of fluids, and acetaminophen of ibuprofen, in doses prescribed by your family physician.

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