5 Common Rashes Children Bring Home From Preschool

Feb 08, 2024
5 Common Rashes Children Bring Home From Preschool
Starting preschool is an exciting milestone for children and parents alike. However, it can also be the start of a contagious illness cycle. Here’s what every parent needs to know about five common rashes affecting preschool-age children.

When your child starts preschool, they’re exposed to a whole new world — full of new friends, ideas, and unfortunately, new viruses and bacteria. A young child explores this new world with their fingers, mouth, and nose, all avenues for the spread of germs that can trigger rashes and other contagious illnesses.

At Abdow Friendship Pediatrics in Rockville, Maryland, our board-certified team of physicians understands how challenging it can be for parents when your little one comes home from school with an unusual rash. We offer same-day visits so your child can feel better as quickly as possible.

Rashes are one of the most common conditions that kids bring home from preschool, though it might not be easy to tell a minor rash that could clear up on its own from one that may need medical treatment. Let’s look at five of the most common rashes.

1. Poison ivy

Playing outside is excellent for children’s development, though it can lead to encounters with plants like poison ivy that may be lurking in a corner of your child’s preschool yard. A simple brush against the leaves of a poison ivy plant can cause an itchy, blistering rash.

Washing with soap immediately after contact can help avoid a reaction, but if your child has already developed a rash, our pediatricians can prescribe a steroid cream or oral anti-inflammatory. 

Ask your child’s preschool if the yard has been treated for poison ivy. If your family spends a lot of time in nature or lives in an area where poison ivy is common, teach your kids to identify the plant by its three-leaf structure and avoid it. 

2. Ringworm

Contrary to how it may sound, ringworm is a fungal infection, not a parasite. It presents as a round red rash that itches and stings. Ringworm can be spread through contact with an infected person, an animal, or transfer from contaminated surfaces. 

When it’s necessary, ensure your child has shoes available for public areas like changing rooms and pools, since ringworm thrives in damp, humid environments. 

Keep your child from close contact with others until 48 hours after treatment to avoid infecting someone else. Most cases can be treated with an antifungal ointment. See our team if their rash persists.

3. Impetigo

A bacterial infection that causes a rash of blisters that take on a yellowish, crusty appearance, impetigo is another common rash condition. Typically starting on your child’s face, impetigo usually shows up around their mouth and nose before moving to other parts of their body through contact.

Your child can spread impetigo through touch, so keep them home from preschool while their rash is active. Both you and your child must wash your hands frequently with soap and water to limit impetigo’s spread.

4. Fifth disease

Caused by the parvovirus B19 family of viruses, fifth disease is spread through mucus and saliva when your child coughs, sneezes, or puts their hands in their mouth before touching a surface or object. It causes cold and flu-like symptoms accompanied by a bright red rash on their cheeks.

Regular hand washing is again an important way to prevent viral spreading. A gentle moisturizer made for toddlers’ sensitive skin can help to soothe their rash.

5. Hand, foot, and mouth disease

This virus causes a rash of blisters in the places its name describes: the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It can also appear on the arms, legs, and/or buttocks, causing a fever in some cases.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) spreads via saliva, mucus, and fecal matter. It’s extremely contagious, particularly in the close quarters of a preschool or daycare, so keep your child home for the duration of their illness. 

Practice frequent hand washing and avoid sharing cups and utensils at home to keep other family members from catching HFMD.

Any condition your child brings home from preschool may be a reason to see the doctors at Abdow Friendship Pediatrics. Schedule an appointment by phone or online today.