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Viral Exanthem


Viral exanthem is a skin rash. It is your child's body's response to a virus. The rash usually goes away on its own. Your child's rash may last from a few days to a month or more.



  • Medicines to treat fever, pain, and itching may be given. Your child may also receive medicines to treat an infection.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Follow up with your child's pediatrician as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your child's rash:

  • Apply calamine lotion on your child's rash. This lotion may help relieve itching. Follow the directions on the label. Do not use this lotion on sores inside your child's mouth.
  • Give your child baths in lukewarm water. Add ½ cup of baking soda or uncooked oatmeal to the water. Let your child bathe for about 30 minutes. Do this several times a day to help your child stop itching.
  • Trim your child's fingernails. Put gloves or socks on his hands, especially at night. Wash his hands with germ-killing soap to prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Keep your child cool. The itching can get worse if your child sweats.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's rash has turned into sores that drain blood or pus.
  • Your child has repeated diarrhea.
  • Your child has ear pain or is pulling at his ears.
  • Your child has joint pain for more than 4 months after his rash has gone away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child's temperature is more than 102° F (38.9° C) and he is dizzy when he sits up.
  • Your child is having seizures.
  • Your child cannot turn his head without pain or complains of a stiff neck.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Viral Exanthem (Aftercare Instructions)

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.