5 Common Skin Conditions in Children That Aren't Usually Serious

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Rashes in children are fairly common and often look scarier than they are. Many simply go away on their own or with a little home-care. Others may require a visit to the doctor. The following are common skin rashes found in children:


    Hives are often an allergic reaction which can occur after eating a certain food, taking a medication, getting bit by an insect and sometimes, an extreme and sudden change in temperature. Hives are red bumps and can be very itchy. They usually disappear within a day and can be treated be an over the counter allergy medication (talk to your doctor before giving very young children any medication.) If your child has any additional symptoms or is having trouble breathing along with the hives it could signal a severe allergic reaction and you should seek immediate medical attention.

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    Despite the name, ringworm is not caused by worms. A common myth is that being dirty causes ringworm but this is not true. Ringworm is caused by a fungus. It is red and bumpy and appears as a circle on your child’s feet, stomach or scalp. It is contagious and can be passed from child to child by sharing towels or other clothing items. It can also be spread from animal to child. Your doctor will treat ringworm with an antifungal medication.

    Prickly Heat

    Prickly heat, or heat rash, is a rash that develops after your child sweats and is usually caused by blocked sweat glands. It looks like small red bumps or blisters. Make sure your child is dressed in loose, cotton clothing. Have him or her take a cool shower and stay in a cool environment until the rash goes away.

    Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis, as the name implies, is a rash caused by something your child came into contact with. Common culprits are plants, such as poison ivy, soaps/detergents or household chemicals. It appears as red bumps and is usually itchy. It doesn’t usually spread to other areas, unless oils or residue are left on fingers and clothing and other areas of the body are touched. If the rash doesn’t seem to be bothering your child, wash with warm soapy water to get rid of any oils and residue and then moisturize the area. Over the counter anti-itch cream usually help if it is tichy. For severe rashes or those that don’t go away with home treatment (or if your child is having trouble breathing), talk to your doctor.


    Warts are caused by a virus (human papillomavirus) and can be contagious, spreading from person to person. Warts most often appear on the fingers and hands. They are bumps that are white or dry looking and can develop singular or in groups of three or four.They usually go away on their own. Cover the wart with a bandage to prevent spreading and make sure your child doesn’t pick at them. If your child is bothered by the wart, talk to your doctor about treatments, such as freezing, medication or laser removal.  


    “Common Skin Disorders,” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, The University of Chicago Medicine

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    “Skin Problems in Children,” Reviewed 2009, Nov 6, Staff Writer, Cleveland Clinic

    “Skin Rashes in Children,” Reviewed 2012, May 25, Staff Writer, United Kingdom HNHS

Published On: April 18, 2013