Not another rash!

A rash is a temporary outbreak of itchy, red, blistered, bumpy or scaly skin (delightful i know) that can appear when your child is sick or having an allergic reaction to something. Now I hate to be the bearer of bad news but unfortunately rashes are pretty common in children.

Why does my child get a rash when they are sick?

When your child is sick with a viral infection the immune cells in their skin release chemicals to try and help them get better. However in doing this it causes inflammation of the skin, appearing as a rash, interesting huh?

What’s the good news?

Look, although there are literally hundreds of different types of rashes the majority of them are generally due to a virus, which are harmless and go away on their own (phewww).

Blanching vs Non blanching rash

Every time your child has a rash you should check if the rash is blanching or non-blanching. This is because a non blanching rash is considered a medical emergency.

Alright so how do i check the rash?

Press firmly on the rash for a few seconds and then let go;

If the rash disappears temporarily then this is a blanching rash good news!

If the rash does not disappear temporarily when pressed on this is a non blanching rash and is considered a medical emergency.

*A non-blanching rash can indicate bleeding under the skin as a result of sepsis or meningococcal disease, time to get to the emergency department urgently.

How do I know what is causing the rash?

So a doctor can do a swab to see what virus your child has, however in most cases it’s not important to know what virus is causing the rash.

What is important is to identify if the rash is blanching or non blanching (Remembering a non blanching rash is a medical emergency) and to keep an eye out for other concerning symptoms that mean you should seek medical help.

So when should I take my little one to the GP?

  • If your little one is due back at school or daycare you may need to visit your GP to find out if they are contagious and how long you will need to isolate.
  • Your child has a rash and a fever
  • Your child has a fever and a headache, stiff neck/back or sensitivity to light
  • You suspect your child has measles
  • You are concerned for any reason

And when should I call an ambulance or take my child to the emergency department?

  • The rash is non blanching
  • Your child appears very unwell eg: floppy, hard to wake, unresponsive etc
  • Signs of anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction
  • Your instinct tells you that something is seriously wrong

So my doctor told me not to worry and to manage my child at home…now what?

Never fear, here are our top tips that might help;






















  1. Give pain relief if needed. Remember rashes like hand, foot and mouth can make eating and drinking painful, ouchies
  2. Try and keep those fluids up, you can read more about hydration and dehydration here
  3. A quick visit to your friendly pharmacist can help with the dreaded itch. Age appropriate antihistamines and skin creams can be super helpful
  4. Take a photo or video of the rash daily to see if it is getting better or worse
  5. Lot of rest and cuddles
  6. Monitor your child closely and don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if you are concerned for any reason. You can read all about advocating for your little one here
























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