Rashes, Widespread and Cause Unknown
- Rash over most of the body (widespread or generalized) (Occasionally just on hands, feet and buttocks - but both sides of body)
- Red or pink rash
- Small spots or large spots
- Main Cause: viral exanthem, a 2 or 3 day rash occurring with a viral illness.
- Common Causes: 6 rashes that you may be able to recognize are listed below.If not, use this guideline
See More Appropriate Topic
- HAND-FOOT-MOUTH DISEASE
- INSECT BITES (especially if itchy)
- Measles vaccine rash: Fine pink rash occurring 7-10 days after measles vaccine, see IMMUNIZATION REACTIONS
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
- Purple or blood-colored rash with fever
- Sudden onset of rash (within 2 hours) and also has difficulty with breathing or swallowing
- Too weak or sick to stand
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Purple or blood-colored rash WITHOUT fever
- Bright red skin that peels off in sheets
- Taking a medication
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If
- A widespread rash, but none of the symptoms described above
Home Care Advice for Widespread Rashes (Pending Talking with Your Doctor)
- For Non-Itchy Rashes: No treatment is necessary, except for heat rashes which respond to cool baths.
- For Itchy Rashes: Wash the skin once with soap to remove irritants. Then give your child cool baths without any soap 4 times per day for 10 minutes whenever the itch is uncomfortable. (Caution: avoid any chill). Follow with calamine lotion or a baking soda solution (1 teaspoon in 4 ounces of water).
- Contagiousness: Avoid contact with other children and especially pregnant women until a diagnosis is made. Most viral rashes are contagious (especially if a fever is present). Your child can return to day care or school after the rash is gone or your doctor says it's safe to return with the rash.
- Expected Course: Most viral rashes disappear within 48 hours.
Call Your Doctor If
Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms
- Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms