Viral Rash in Children and Toddler: Symptoms and Treatments

Generally, a rash is a reaction of the skin. It appears because the skin has a limited number of possible responses to many causes like viruses and bacteria. Viral childhood rashes, which are caused by viruses, are common that every child has experienced.

Viral Rash in Children and Toddler
Viral Rash in Children and Toddler

Often, rashes aren’t a reason for concern. Viral rashes are usually harmless and fade away without any treatment. However, contact your doctor if you feel that your child is dealing with an unwell and serious rash.

This article may give parents many better ideas about what could cause the Viral Rash in Children and how to deal with. But keep on your mind that this is not self-diagnose your child- disease; you need to see your doctor for proper diagnose.


Common Types of Viral Rash in Children: Symptoms and Treatment


Most of the childhood diseases have bacterial or viral causes and include a rash. A rash of any type should be taken seriously, and it may require a trip to your doctor for evaluation. Following are some childhood diseases that include viral rashes:


Chickenpox (Varicella)

It is very contagious disease that is caused by a virus called varicella-zoster (VZV). Commonly, chickenpox is not associated with complications. The symptoms can make the child uncomfortable lasting 2 weeks. For people with weak immune system like newborns and pregnant women, chickenpox can be serious disease.

There is a safe and effective vaccine to prevent chickenpox for children who aged up to 1 year. The virus can be transmitted by direct contact or respiratory droplets.


The initial symptoms are sore throats, fever, and feeling tired. Within a day, itchy, small and red rash appears typically on the head and torso. Then, it spreads to the arms and legs. It lasts for 7-10 days.


As the virus is spread from nasal and oral secretions, the rash itself is also contagious. That means that your child can’t go to school until the last lesion has fully faded away.

There is no cure for chickenpox, but as we mentioned, there is an effective vaccine to prevent the illness, Doctors usually prescribe a medications that help control the itching.

Chickenpox vaccine

It is called “varicella vaccine” which is given in two doses. The first is given at 12-15 months of age. The second is given 4-6 years of age. This vaccine could cause redness and mild tenderness. After the dose, 3 out of 100 children develop a chickenpox like-rash. However, only 1 of 100 children get a rash after the second dose.


Never give aspirin to your child with chickenpox because this causes a deadly disease called Reye’s syndrome.



It is caused by a paramyxovirus. There is an effective vaccine to prevent this disease. It can be transmitted via respiratory droplet.


Generally, the first symptoms appear 10-12 days after the exposure of the underlying virus. The child seems sick with decreased activity level. Then, within 3-4 days, a higher fever develops and a red purplish rash starts to appear on the face and behind the ears. It can spread to the thighs and feet. Approximately after a week, the rash disappears in the same way it developed.


Once Measles begins, there is no certain treatment. Children who have measles will appear miserable, but they will get better.

Measles Vaccine

This vaccine is part of the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) which is given at age 12-15 months and it is given again at age 4-6 years.

Around 20% of those who have measles may experience a complication. It can include encephalitis, pregnancy problems, ear infection, a low platelet count, and pneumonia and bronchitis.



Rubella ( Three-Day Measles)

It is mild, short term disease. Rubella can spread by virus in nasal or oral secretions. The rash is not contagious.


After the viral exposure, the child will develop a light red or pink rash on face that spreads to the body. It might be an itchy and mild rash. Besides rash, there is other symptoms that your child may have including: headache, mild joint pains, low-grade temperature, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears.

In general, your child will not appear to be very sick as compared with regular measles.


There is no specific treatment for rubella. It can be easily prevented with the MMR vaccine.

Rubella can be very serious to pregnant women, it may affect the unborn child. Pregnant women should have their immune status verified. The complication may cause a congenital rubella syndrome that occurs when intrauterine infection occurs during the first trimester.


Fifth Disease

It is also known as slapped cheeks erythema infectiosum disease. It is caused by virus called parvovirus B19. Commonly, this virus occurs in the winter and spring.


Most people that are espoused to parvovirus B19 will have no symptoms. 1 in 4 only develop fifth disease. It starts with slight cough, headache, fever, and sore throat. After the symptoms of the viral disease are over, the rash immediately appears. The specific sign of this illness is bright red cheeks which fades away after two days. Then, lacy and red rash spreads to the body. When the skin is cool, rash fades away.

Don’t worry, once the rash appears, the child is not contagious. Therefore, children who get the rash are free to return to school or day care.


Actually, there is no certain therapy to treat fifth disease. Normally, fifth disease isn’t serious for healthy children. However, this illness can cause a serious problem for children with sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, lupus rash or leukemia.


Roseola Infantum

It is common childhood illness that is caused by human herpes virus 6. It is also called (exanthema subitum). Children who contract this disease are aged between 6 months and 2 years.


The classic symptoms stars to appear including spiking and high fever for 2-5 days. The fever is followed by the appearance of pink, small, flat or raised rash. It is resolved quickly lasting 1-2 days. The rash is not bothersome or contagious.


Roseola is not a harmful illness and gets better without certain therapy. You can use Tylenol if desired.


Coxsackienviruses and other Enteroviruses

The enteroviruses, including the coxsackieviruses, are very common viruses that cause fever and rash on children. Coxsackieviruses can cause two common diseases: foot and mouth disease and herpangina. All childhood age ranges are possible to be exposure to this virus.


Hand, foot and mouth disease’s symptoms are fever for 1-2 days and then a rash. The rash includes tender blisters in the tongue, mouth, the palms, and soles of the hands and the feet. Young children may have a general feeling of being ill.

Hepangina can cause a fever, sore throat, headache, and painful blisters. It occurs typically during the summer. Commonly, it is seen in children who aged 3-10 years.


There is no specific treatment for them. However, you can use cetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever and discomfort.

The two diseases are not harmful but you can prevent them with good hand washing and not eating off of others plate or sharing straws.

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