Don’t be rash
My little girl has developed a sudden rash. How can I tell if it’s serious – and should I take her to see a doctor? Claire Bloom, Jumeirah
Rashes are extremely common in rugrats. And it’s easy to panic when your pale-skinned cherub suddenly develops an ugly great red patch.
Happily, most munchkins only suffer from harmless rashes, usually brought on by a childhood virus, heat or an allergic reaction, says Dr Rita Kovesdi, a specialist Pediatrician at Health Bay Polyclinic in Umm Suqeim.
‘There are just so many different kinds of rashes that parents often have difficulty deciphering their causes,’ she says. ‘But you should visit a doctor immediately when the rash is accompanied with either a high fever or vomiting.’
Dr Rita recommends parents do a glass test. ‘If, when you press the glass against the skin, the rash disappears, it probably isn’t serious. However, if it doesn’t disappear, you must take bubba to hospital immediately, because it could be a sign of meningitis,’ she advises.
Thankfully, such situations are extremely rare, and in the case of a normal rash with minimal accompanying symptoms, parents can, she says, ‘wait until the next day and see what happens.’
There are several common viral rashes such as the famous and highly contagious chicken pox, which causes discomfort to little ones because the spotty blisters are just so darned itchy.
You can often tell if a rash is viral because blisters are present, says Dr Rita, who adds that allergic rashes tend to be dryer and more raised than viral versions. And even though there is no cure for viral nasties, doctors can prescribe medication to ease the itchiness and discomfort.
So what can you do, besides medication, to get rid of the rash?
‘Heat rash is easy. Simply undress them, let them cool down and it will usually disappear in minutes. If your child has chicken pox or something similar, wash them daily,’ says Dr Rita. ‘You shouldn’t use harsh soaps though, gentle cleansers are better. And make sure they don’t scratch!’
How do you help your child avoid rashes in future? ‘Washing is essential in keeping your child rash-free. If there’s an infection going round at school, then maybe keep your child home for a few days,’ she advises.
But above all, don’t panic. Dealing with rashes in kids is all part of the parental adventure – and though unsightly, they will usually clear up all by themselves.
Dr Rita Kovesdi is a Specialist Pediatrician at Health Bay Polyclinic in Umm Suqeim, 04 348 7140; www.healthbaypolyclinic.com