Your baby has a rash -- what should you do?

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by Melissa Jaramillo

baby rash how-toAs you're getting your 9-month-old ready for bed, you notice red and white raised welts on his legs and tummy. A few minutes later he's covered in welts. Should you rush to the ER? Baby has a rash!

First, don't panic! Most rashes don't require urgent medical care.

Rashes are common during childhood. Kids come into contact with irritants that can trigger a rash and illnesses that can cause a rash.

When to see the doctor

Answering two simple questions can help you decide whether your baby needs to be seen.

1. Does your baby seem ill?

If your child acts happy, and the rash does not bother, you don't don't need to get it evaluated. However, if you notice any of these behavior, your baby should see the pediatrician if he or she is:

• Difficult to awaken or overly sleepy
• Won't drink from breast or bottle
• Difficulty breathing
• Cries and can't be comforted
• Fever accompanied by stiff neck or vomiting
• Your baby is under three months of age

2. How does the rash look?

The rash's appearance can help you decide if it's serious, even if you baby acts well. Have you child seen if:

• The red, purple or blue spots don't get get lighter when you apply pressure to them
• The rash blisters, crusts or drains fluid or pus
• It's painful to touch
• Covers much of the body and looks like a sunburn
• The skin peels or sloughs when touched
• The rash involves your baby's eyes

These features don't necessarily mean your baby has a serious problem, but you will want to have the pediatrician rule out infections, allergies or bleeding problems.

Easing itching

Nothing can make you miserable faster than a fussy, uncomfortable baby. Here's how you can sooth your baby and get everyone feeling better as quickly as possible! You'll both appreciate the relief!

If the rash doesn't meet any of the "call a doctor" criteria listed above, try these home treatments:

✓ Keep your baby cool; heat makes itching worse
✓ Apply cool, wet cloths to the rash three or four times a day
✓ Try an oatmeal bath to decrease the discomfort
✓ After the bath, pat the skin dry and apply a dye-free and perfume-free moisturizer
✓ Use soft cotton gloves to discourage scratching
✓ If the rash is accompanied by a fever, you can give tylenol or if your baby is older than six month, ibuprofen
✓ Identify and remove potential causes. If your baby tasted a new food or medication or you changed laundry detergents or personal care products, you may have found the cause.

If you have any concerns, talk them over with your baby's doctor.

What has been the biggest trigger for your baby's rash?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.