Emergency Care for a Rash

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Swedish Medical Center

It can be difficult to determine whether you should treat your child's rash or skin irritation at home, call your pediatrician or seek emergency care. Rashes are commonly caused by allergic reactions to shampoos, detergents, soaps; by reactions to hot or cold; reactions to stress or embarrassment or reactions to a viral infection. Non-emergency rashes will generally respond to home care. If it persists, contact your child's pediatrician.

More serious rashes may require emergency care. The following guidance may help you determine whether the rash requires a trip to the pediatric ER.

Emergency Care May Be Necessary If Your Child Has These Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Joint Pain
  • Blisters in mouth or skin peeling away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Areas of tenderness
  • Headache
  • Streaks of red
  • Bleeding or bruising under the rash

Medication Reactions

If you think your child has developed the rash in reaction to a medication, stop giving it to your child immediately and call your child's pediatrician. Get clearance from your pediatrician before resuming the medication. 

If the Rash Persists, Call Your Pediatrician

If your child is suffering from a recurring or persistent rash, plan a visit to your child's pediatrician. It may indicate an ongoing allergic reaction or a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis.

Swedish Pediatric Emergency Care