Viral skin rash

A viral skin rash is a skin condition caused by a virus which results in a series of red spots (called ‘erythematous’).

There any numerous viruses, many of which cause a rash which is either classed as specific, e.g. measles or chickenpox or a non-specific red rash. Babies and children are prone to viral infections which often cause a rash. But this is part of the normal process of building up immunity to infections and diseases.

Symptoms of a viral skin rash

The most obvious symptom is that of a red skin rash. This rash appears as red spots, some larger than others, which can often join together to form a large patch on the skin.

If pressure is put on this rash, e.g. rolling a glass tumbler over it, then this pressure will cause the rash to disappear.

This rash can develop on any part of the body. One example of this is the appearance of fine red spots on the back, which often occurs in babies.

A viral skin rash is not that itchy: but if your baby has a very itchy rash then it could be a sign of an allergic skin condition called urticaria. Urticaria is more commonly known as hives.

Treatment of a viral skin rash

Treatment is not required in the vast majority of cases as the rash usually clears up by itself. Once the virus disappears, the rash does so as well.

If your baby has a dry rash then you can apply a moisturising cream to the infected area. Choose one which is mild and non-fragrant and kind to baby’s skin.

Contact your GP if your baby is very unwell, the rash worsens or doesn’t disappear when you put pressure on it. A rash which does not do this is known as a ‘petechial’ rash and can be an indicator of a serious illness such as meningitis.

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