A rash that’s accompanied by a fever, diarrhea and vomiting can make your toddler feel terrible and can be scary for you as a parent. If your toddler has a high fever that’s not going down or seems dehydrated, always consult with your doctor or seek help at your local emergency room.
Food poisoning can occur within a few hours of eating and often occurs with nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, a fever and stomach cramps. In some cases, a rash will be present. Roseola has a high fever for about three days with a runny nose, cough, ear pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Once the fever disappears, a rash appears. Usually the rash starts around the neck. Fifth disease starts with mild-cold like symptoms with a low-grade fever. In some cases, vomiting and mild diarrhea will be present. Once the symptoms disappear, a rash appears on the face. The rash looks like a slapped cheek and then it spreads to the trunk and extremities.
Food poisoning is often caused by your toddler eating meats, poultry, eggs, milk and shellfish that are contaminated with bacteria. Common bacteria that cause food poisoning are salmonella, listeria, campylobacter and E. coli. Roseola is a viral infection that’s common for young children. Fifth disease is caused by parvovirus B189. Both roseola and fifth disease are contagious. Droplets of fluid from an infected person can either be inhaled by your child or land on objects that your toddler touches.
Food poisoning, roseola and fifth disease rarely need treatment other than making your child feel comfortable. Since vomiting and diarrhea are present, there is a risk of dehydration. To prevent dehydration, have your child drink an over-the-counter oral rehydration solution. Also have your toddler take small sips of water or a clear non-caffeinated soda. Go to the hospital if blood is in the diarrhea or vomit. Antibiotics are rarely needed for food poisoning and will be completely ineffective for roseola and fifth disease. Acetaminophen can lower your toddler’s fever, but check with your doctor for the proper dosage amount.
To prevent your toddler from getting food poisoning in the future, wash your hands during and after food preparation. Be sure to cook food thoroughly. If your toddler’s chicken looks raw or pink in the middle, then it needs to cook longer. Never give your toddler foods after their expiration date and discard foods that are starting to smell bad. Quickly refrigerate cooked foods to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. Roseola and fifth disease can be difficult for your toddler to avoid, especially if your toddler is in daycare. Teaching your toddler how to wash his hands and frequently washing your own hands can help prevent the spread of viruses.