Childhood’s Rashes: More Than Just A Little Irritation

Rashes are common among children; even as babies, diaper rash is a common occurrence. But rashes aren't always just a skin irritation; sometimes they are an indication of a more serious illness, requiring prompt medical care. Parents need to take the symptoms that accompany a rash into consideration when determining if a call to the pediatrician is necessary

Bacterial Meningitis

As its name implies, bacterial meningitis is a bacterial infection. It affects the meninges, which are the thin membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A person of any age can get bacterial meningitis, but it is more severe in children. It is caused by bacteria from an infection in another part of the body, such as the ears or lungs.

Children with bacterial meningitis develop a red or purplish skin rash, which may also be a symptom of other illnesses. So you need to watch your children for other symptoms of bacterial meningitis along with the rash:

  • Fever and chills
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Irritability

If you suspect your child has bacterial meningitis, call your pediatrician immediately. With proper medical care, your child should fully recover within a few weeks and avoid possible complications:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Paralysis
  • Speech difficulty
  • Death

Allergic Purpura

Allergic purpura is a sudden bleeding under the skin, and it is more common in children than in adults. It is thought to be an autoimmune reaction that causes inflammation in the small blood vessels throughout a child's body. The allergic trigger for purpura is not always known, but it often follows an upper respiratory infection. It may also occur after a child has used sulfa drugs. 

Often a sore throat precedes the other symptoms of purpura, which includes an itchy skin rash just below the skin's surface. This rash often appears as large hives with blood spots in their centers. It is often seen on the upper thighs and buttocks. If your child has this type of rash, watch for the other symptoms of allergic purpura.

  • Low fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping

While some children have mild symptoms with just a few hives and low fever, other children suffer from severe symptoms that require hospitalization. If you child has even mild symptoms of allergic purpura, call your pediatrician to avoid possible complications.

  • Permanent joint deformity
  • Kidney failure

With proper treatment, your child should recover within a few weeks.

Sometimes a rash can be a symptom of a more serious illness, so anytime you have concerns about your child's symptoms don't hesitate to call your pediatrician such as someone from Rainbow Pediatrics. He or she can help you decide if your child requires immediate medical attention.