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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Children with fever and a rash will usually be infected with a virus. A rash that does not diminish when exposed to pressure can be a sign of meningitis.

Many of the infections children have appear in the form of fever and rash. A few examples are chickenpox, scarlet fever, three-day fever and slapped cheek syndrome.

A special kind of rash is seen in the case of meningitis. It consists of small red spots that do not go away when you press your finger against the skin. The most important symptom of meningitis is general malaise, which means that the child lies completely still, does not want to hear stories or play, has a high fever, headache and possible vomiting. Often (but far from every time) the child will fell stiffness in neck and back. In that case, the child will be unable to look at its navel or put its forehead against its knee.

A rash can also indicate an allergy towards food, medicine or insect bite. In these cases, the rash will cause itching.

The most common kind of rash is infantile eczema. Consider infantile eczema when:

  • Parents or siblings have had infantile eczema, asthma or hay fever
  • The child has very dry itchy skin
  • The eczema is located on elbows, the hollow of the knees, wrists and ankles

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Infantile eczema is treated with thick moisturiser and crème of corticosteroid. An itchy rash can be treated with antipruritic medication that can be bought over the counter in pharmacies.

What can you do?

This depends on the child’s general condition and the severity of the illness. A simple rash does not need treatment.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

When the rash itches and you do not know cause of the itch.

Contact the doctor immediately

When you suspect the child suffers from meningitis.