Current Environment:


A Rash may occur on one small part of the body, or on larger areas. They may appear as small spots, large spots, or solid red patches. Localized rashes are usually due to skin contact with an irritating substance. Widespread rashes are usually a result of a viral illness.

Symptom Management

Avoid the Cause:

  • Consider irritants like a plant (e.g., poison ivy), chemicals (e.g., solvents, insecticides), fiberglass, detergents, a new cosmetic, or new jewelry
  • A pet may be the intermediary (e.g., with poison ivy or oak) or your child may react directly to pet saliva.

Avoid Soap:

Wash the area once thoroughly with soap to remove any remaining irritants. Thereafter avoid soaps to the area. Cleanse the area when needed with warm water.

Cold Soaks for Itching:

Apply a cold, wet washcloth or soak in cold water for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours to reduce itching or pain.

Steroid Cream for Itching:

If the itch is more than mild, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (no prescription needed) 4 times per day.

Avoid Scratching:

Encourage your child not to scratch. Cut the fingernails short.

Expected Course

Most rashes pass in 2 to 3 days. If your child has a fever, they should avoid contact with other children and pregnant women until a diagnosis is made as most viral rashes are contagious. Your child may return to school after the rash is gone or your doctor decides it is safe to return.

When to Call the Office

  • Rash spreads or becomes worse.
  • Rash changes to purple spots or dots.
  • Rash lasts over 3 days.
  • Sores open and crust over.
  • Your child becomes worse.


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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.