Symptom guide: Rashes
Decipher the possible causes of your baby’s rash and know what to do

The symptoms

What it could be

What to do

White or yellow bumps on nose, chin and cheeks. Common in newborns.

Milia is when dead skin cells collect in tiny pockets outside of the skin.

Harmless. Fades in a few weeks. Don’t apply creams and don’t pop the bumps.

Small pimples or red bumps on face and back. Present at birth or develops at 3 to 4 weeks.

Baby acne is common. Possibly due to hormones received from the mother just before birth. Medications taken while breastfeeding or directly by baby could trigger it.

Acne clears in a few weeks, but see a doctor if it persists for three months. Don’t treat acne with any cream. Wash with mild baby soap once a day and pat dry.

Red, raised or flat rash on baby’s bottom or thigh or even tummy area.

Nappy rash is caused by excessive wetness, sensitivity to disposable nappies, laundry detergents, chafing, nappy creams and new foods in the diet that alter the stool composition.

See a doctor if rash appears infected. Wash rash area gently and never rub dry. Use a barrier cream to protect skin against urine and stool wetness. Air baby’s bottom to help heal the rash.

Very red rough rash. Pus-filled pimples. Appears worse in skin folds.

A nappy rash may progress to a yeast infection (candida). Yeast is found in the body in small amounts but will thrive in excess moisture. Babies on antibiotics are at risk as antibiotics reduce the good bacteria that prevent excess yeast growth.

Yeast infections don’t respond to the usual nappy creams. See you doctor for advise.

Dandruff like flakes on scalp - thick, oily, crusty yellow or brown patches. Can appear elsewhere on the body.

Cradle cap is common and should clear in 6 to 12 months. No confirmed cause of cradle cap. Could be due to excessive hormones received at birth.

Harmless. See your doctor if it spreads beyond the scalp. Shampoo scalp gently to reduce flakes. Also apply almond or olive and comb out carefully.

Dry scaly rash on face, elbows, knees, nappy area. Tiny blisters that ooze if popped.

Eczema may be an inherited condition. It could be caused by allergies arising from baby’s diet or your diet if nursing. Chemical irritants in lotions and washing detergents, dry skin, soap or heat could be a cause.

Ask your doctor for treatment solutions. Use a mild soap to wash, pat your baby’s skin dry and moisturise. Use cotton clothing. Avoid scratchy fabrics. Use mild, fragrance free detergents to wash clothing.

Itchy red, raised, swollen skin patches that come and go on body. May last a few hours or months.

Hives is when the body release histamine into the bloodstream in reaction to an insect bite or sting, allergies, medications or sudden temperature changes. Possible anaphylactic shock – a severe and deadly allergic reaction – could occur.

Call for medics fast if breathing problems are present. If you suspect a pollen or pet allergen, bathe your baby to wash off allergens. Dab skin with calamine lotion for relief. Dress in light clothing. For pain and itching relief, ask your doctor.

A scaly ring formation on skin and scalp. Described as patchy, dry formations.

Ringworm is a fungal infection on the skin. It is spread by an already infected person or pet. The fungus thrives on sweaty moist skin.

The doctor will prescribe an antifungal cream. Ringworm should clear in 3 to 4 weeks. Scalp ringworm may take up to 8 weeks to clear. An oral antifungal medicine plus shampoo will be needed. Don’t let your baby scratch or risk infection.

Very itchy red patches found on elbows, armpits, lower abdomen, wrists, genitals and in between fingers. Accompanied by thin red lines, inflamed pimples and blisters. Baby gets restless at night.

Scabies is caused by microscopic parasitic mites in the skin. It is highly contagious. When your baby scratches the rash, scabs form and bacterial infection can set in. The itching is caused by the mites burrowing under the skin, dropping feces and eggs.

Call your doctor quick. A topical cream must be applied all over the baby’s body from the neck down, including in between fingers and toes. Leave on for 8 to 14 hours before washing off. Cover baby’s hands with socks to prevent the medicine from getting his mouth.

A raised pink rash on body, fever for 2 to 5 days and a runny nose. Affects children between 6 months and 3 years.

Roseola is a type of herpes virus and like most viral illnesses will run its course. It is a contagious illness that spreads via coughs, sneezes and saliva.

Your doctor will give fever medication. Give baby plenty of liquids to keep him hydrated.

White spots appear in the mouth first before the red, bumpy rash on face and neck. Fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, swollen lymph nodes and vomiting.

Measles is spread via cough and sneeze droplets. A child with measles is contagious 4 days before and after rash appears. It takes 18 days for symptoms to show. Could also be rubella (German measles).

Seek urgent medical attention to confirm illness. Ensure child gets MMR vaccine to protect against mumps, measles and rubella, at 12-15 months and again at ages 4 and 6.

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