Rashes: When to call, and when to relax

by Diana Wagner, MD

Rashes- When to Call

Rashes are very common, from infant to adolescents.  Most of the time, they look worse than they are, in terms of your child’s health.  It is rare that a rash would need to be seen in an emergency room or urgent care.  But some rashes are more worrisome than others.  When the rash is associated with the following symptoms, you should call our office:

  1. A rash associated with a high fever
  2. A rash that is painful, or tender to the touch
  3. A rash that does not blanch (that means will not lighten when you put gentle pressure)
  4. Rashes that start soon after eating a food or after taking a medication
  5. Rashes associated with your child acting sick
  6. Rashes in young infants

The bottom line though, even if the above conditions don’t apply, if you are that worried about your child’s rash then you should have your child seen in our office.

Rashes are often difficult to describe over the phone –one person’s pimple is another person’s blister.  Since these rashes are easy to misidentify without actually seeing the child, a visit to the office is warranted.  There are times, however, that even with the best history and physical exam in the office, the exact cause of your child’s rash may not be found in all cases.  For example, we can tell an infectious rash from a contact rash but cannot tell what the irritant was that caused your child to get the contact rash.  And if a rash has just started, and is only a few patches or “dots,” it may be difficult to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment until the rash has had time to “blossom” so to speak.  While MOST rashes can be diagnosed by your primary care pediatrician, there may be some that require a referral to a dermatologist.  As you may know, this could be a long process, but we will try to help you through every step of the way.