Dr Christian:
A rash is the appearance of spots or patches of a different colour or texture to normal skin and they come in many different shapes and sizes. Most children will suffer from a rash at some point and some are more serious than others so it’s important for you to be able to identify them.

In this video we’ll cover chicken pox, Measles and Rubella, and I’ve made a second video covering slapped cheek syndrome, meningitis, impetigo and ringworm.

The spots in a rash may be raised above the skin and some may be filled with fluid or pus whilst others may only differ in colour and texture. Rashes can be very itchy too.

Viral infections are one of the most common causes of rashes, so let’s have a look at how to recognise, treat and prevent some of the most common childhood rashes.
Chicken pox is one of the most well known infections and starts with red spots which develop into very itchy raised fluid filled blisters. The rash spreads all over the body and after a few days the blisters dry up and scab over. Feelings of nausea, mild fever and headaches are usually quite common and can last for about 2 weeks. One of the biggest problems with chicken pox is that the rash is extremely itchy and there is a huge temptation to scratch it which can lead to the blisters becoming infected or can leave permanent scars on the skin. Make sure they wear loose clothing and try using ointments like calamine lotion to help soothe the itching. You can also try trimming your child’s finger nails to prevent them from scratching and put socks over their hands at night so they don’t scratch in their sleep.

Chicken Pox is at its most contagious about two days before the rash appears through to when the blisters have crusted over, and you should keep your child away from school during this time. The good news is that nearly all children who contract chicken pox develop immunity so they’ll probably only have to go through this once.

Another well known rash is Measles which presents itself through a wide ranging spotty rash. It usually begins on the face and neck before spreading downwards. The spots may start separately but then appear to join up in to larger spots. This rash is usually accompanied by a mild fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and even small white spots inside the mouth and throat which can be quite unpleasant. Luckily, these symptoms only last for a few days although the rash can last for about a week. While Measles itself is mild there is a fair chance of more severe problems occurring particularly in children under 5 and these include conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and ear infections. If your child shows unusual symptoms you should seek medical advice from your GP. Measles is very contagious for a few days before the rash through to 4-5 days after, however, most children who contract measles will develop immunity. Your doctor can prescribe mild pain killers but you should remember to give you child plenty of fluids and lots of cold flannels to help keep their temperature down. There is a vaccination against measles which is something you should discuss with your doctor.

Rubella which is also known as German Measles, presents as a wide ranging spotty rash. It’s generally mild in children and complications are much less serious than those of measles.The rash consists of small red spots usually beginning behind the ears and spreading downwards across the face. It usually lasts between 3-5 days and just like Measles nearly everyone who contracts Rubella develops immunity. Again a vaccine is available and you can speak to your family doctor about this.

Read the video transcript

In this video, one of two on rashes, Dr Christian talks Chicken pox, measles and rubella. From causes of rashes such as viral infections, to how to recognise, treat and prevent rashes, to talk of vaccinations, contagious periods, and developing immunity, Dr Christian really does explain all there is that you’re itching to know about rashes. And, though Dr Christian advises never to scratch itches, watching this video is one itch we’re dying for you to scratch!

Images used:
Jonny McCullagh

Please visit Patient UK to find out more about the following:
Chickenpox in Children Under 12
MMR Immunisation
Immunisation Usual UK Schedule
School Exclusion Times

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites

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