Viral Exanthems, Child

Many viral infections of the skin in childhood are called viral exanthems. Exanthem is another name for a rash or skin eruption. The most common childhood viral exanthems include the following:

  • Enterovirus.

  • Echovirus.

  • Coxsackievirus (Hand, foot, and mouth disease).

  • Adenovirus.

  • Roseola.

  • Parvovirus B19 (Erythema infectiosum or Fifth disease).

  • Chickenpox or varicella.

  • Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious mononucleosis).

DIAGNOSIS

Most common childhood viral exanthems have a distinct pattern in both the rash and pre-rash symptoms. If a patient shows these typical features, the diagnosis is usually obvious and no tests are necessary.

TREATMENT

No treatment is necessary. Viral exanthems do not respond to antibiotic medicines, because they are not caused by bacteria. The rash may be associated with:

  • Fever.

  • Minor sore throat.

  • Aches and pains.

  • Runny nose.

  • Watery eyes.

  • Tiredness.

  • Coughs.

If this is the case, your caregiver may offer suggestions for treatment of your child's symptoms.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Do not give aspirin to your child.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child has a sore throat with pus, difficulty swallowing, and swollen neck glands.

  • Your child has chills.

  • Your child has joint pains, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 100.5° F (38.1° C) or higher for more than 1 day.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child has severe headaches, neck pain, or a stiff neck.

  • Your child has persistent extreme tiredness and muscle aches.

  • Your child has a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain.

  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.