Skin rashes are common in babies and children.

Skin rashes are common in babies and children.

Most rashes are harmless and go away on their own.

A skin rash associated with fever is most often due to a viral infection. This occurs along with
other symptoms such as runny nose and cough.

The rash can vary in shape and size, usually appearing as blotchy red spots commonly
affecting most of the body. These rashes are called ‘non-specific’, which means that it is
hard to say which specific virus is the cause.

Visit the NHS website for pictures of common skin rashes in babies and children and their


If your child has any of the following:

  • Has a rash that does not go away with pressurel (see the 'Glass Test’)
  • Swollen lips or tongue and struggling to breathe
  • Breathing very fast, too breathless to talk, eat or drink
  • Working hard to breathe, drawing in of the muscles below the rib or noisy breathing (grunting)
  • Breathing that stops or pauses
  • Is pale, blue, mottled or feels unusually cold to touch
  • Difficult to wake up, very sleepy or confused
  • Weak, high-pitched cry or can’t be settled
  • Has a fit (seizure)
  • Is under 3 months old with temperature more than 38°C or under 36°C (unless fever in the 48 hours following vaccinations and no other red features)

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:

  • Painful  rash
  • Blistering rash unless recent contact with chicken pox
  • Develops red lips or a red tongue
  • Develops a lot of skin peeling
  • Has had chickenpox in the past few days and is now getting more unwell
  • Breathing a bit faster than normal or working a bit harder to breathe
  • Dry skin, lips or tongue
  • Not had a wee or wet nappy in last 8 hours
  • Poor feeding in babies (less than half of their usual amount)
  • Irritable (Unable to settle them with toys, TV, food or hugs even after their fever has come down)
  • Is 3-6 months old with temperature 39°C or above (unless fever in the 48 hours following vaccinations and no other red or amber features)
  • Temperature of 38oC or above for more than 5 days or shivering with fever(rigors)
  • Temperature less than 36°C in those over 3 months
  • Getting worse or you are worried about them

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111

If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, recheck that your child has not developed any red features

If none of the above features are present:

  • Most children with fever and rash can be safely managed at home​​​​​​
  • Watch them closely for any change and look out for any red or amber symptoms
  • Additional advice is also available to young families for coping with crying of well babies
  • If your child has a long term condition or disability and you are worried please contact your regular team or follow any plans that they have given you.
  • If you think that this is a worsening of your child’s eczema, please look at the eczema page or contact your GP or practice nurse

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across North East and North Cumbria with consent from the Hampshire development groups.

Choose appropriate sized spacer with mask (or mouthpiece if child is over 3 years with good technique and is not significantly short of breath).



  1. Shake the inhaler well and remove cap.

  2. Fit the inhaler into the opening at the end of the spacer.

  3. Place mask over the child’s face or mouthpiece in their mouth ensuring a good seal

  4. Press the inhaler once and allow the child to take 5 slow breaths between each dose or count to 10

  5. Remove the inhaler and shake between every puff. Wait 1 minute between puffs.

    Repeat steps 1 – 5 for subsequent doses
    Plastic spacers should be washed before 1st use and every month as per manufacturer’s guidelines

Videos on inhaler technique.

Asthma Attack - 1.jpg

Asthma Attack 2.jpg

  • Keep your child well hydrated by offering them lots to drink
  • Most children with coughs and colds do not require treatment with antibiotics. 
  • If your child seems to be in pain or discomfort, you can give your child Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, following the instructions on the container.
  • Do not give cough syrup. It is not recommended for children under 6 years. It can make children sleepy and does not help.
  • Try using saline nose drops or spray if your baby has a blocked nose.
  • For children over 2 years, vapour rubs (containing camphor, menthol and/or eucalyptus) may help children sleep better.

This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

  • Many rashes simply get better by themselves without any treatment. This includes viral rashes.
    • If your child has a fever, you may want to lower their temperature using Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen
  • Some rashes require you to keep your child off from nursery or school. This includes chickenpox and scarlet fever
  • Mild eczema, nappy rash and cold sores can be treated  with creams from your local community pharmacist

Common rashes

Information on common rashes in babies and infants

Information on common rashes in older children

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