New Itchy Skin Rashes in Children
There are many types of skin rashes. A rash is an outbreak of many red bumps or patches on the skin. Many conditions can cause an itchy rash. In children, viral infections and scabies are common, as are several types of skin inflammation (such as diaper rash) and various allergic reactions (contact dermatitis). Determining that the skin change is recent (generally happening for the first time and lasting less than 1-2 weeks) helps to narrow the number of possible causes for the rash. The location of the rash on the body and the extent of the rash can also help determine a cause. Limited areas may indicate a poison ivy rash or other allergic contact dermatitis, while widespread rashes covering the entire body are typical of hives (urticaria), viral infections, and scabies.
Most skin rashes are not dangerous to others unless they are caused by an infectious disease such as chickenpox (varicella) or scabies. Many rashes go away on their own after some time has passed. It is often reasonable to watch a slightly itchy rash for a few days to see whether the condition gets a little better and goes away on its own.
Click any of the skin rash pictures below to help identify a specific health concern.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis (Pediatric)
Allergic contact dermatitis is an allergy to a substance (the allergen) touching the skin. The reaction occurs 48–72 hours after exposure. Common allergens are nickel, chromates, rubber chemicals, and…
Diaper Rash (Irritant Diaper Dermatitis)
Diaper rash (irritant diaper dermatitis) occurs when an infant's sensitive skin is exposed to urine and stool, coupled with the diaper rubbing and chafing the skin, a tight-fitting diaper, or possible a diaper…
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac dermatides, called poison ivy dermatitis for simplicity here) are all an allergic reaction to the oil found on the leaves and in the stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak…
Drug Eruption, Unclassified (Pediatric)
A drug eruption, also known as drug reaction or drug rash, is a skin condition caused by taking a drug (medication). A drug eruption can appear in many ways, and any medication can cause a drug eruption.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by a tiny parasite (mite) called Sarcoptes scabiei that can live and multiply (infest) on skin. They are passed between people by prolonged skin-to-skin contact.
Pityriasis rosea (PR) is a common, non-cancerous (benign) rash that mostly affects the back, chest, and abdomen. It starts fairly quickly, lasts about 6–8 weeks, and is usually not itchy.
Chickenpox (varicella) is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus that goes away on its own. Infection spreads among humans through fluids from the airways, such as from coughing and sneezing…
Hives (urticaria), also known as welts, is a common skin condition with itchy, pink to red bumps that appear and disappear anywhere on the body. An individual lesion of hives typically lasts a few hours before fading…
A viral exanthem is a rash caused by a viral infection. Many viruses can cause a similar-appearing rash, so it is difficult to tell which one is the culprit. Your child's age, duration of illness, and other symptoms…