An itchy rash on your child's face may look alarming and can cause discomfort -- but if there's no other symptoms, chances are it isn't serious. An itchy rash can even be caused by exposure to the sun. In some cases, however, your child may have an underlying condition. Identifying the cause can help you alleviate the discomfort and prevent complications.
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While some rashes burn or produce no discomfort, most cause itching. A rash accompanied by itching is called urticaria or hives. A rash is characterized by flat or raised, red spots or fluid-filled blisters on the skin or mucous membrane. Your child may develop a rash anywhere on his face, including the eyelids and lips.
Rashes Without Other Symptoms
An itchy rash on the face can be caused by a number of conditions. When sweat ducts become obstructed, your child may develop a prickly heat rash, which can appear on the neck and face suddenly as clear or red itchy bumps. Heat rash rarely produces other symptoms. Eczema looks like a rash of red, fluid-filled bumps that ooze and is not usually accompanied by other symptoms. An allergic reaction to substances, such as plants, chemicals and metals, may appear on the face if the substance comes into contact with the face. With a contact allergy, there may be no other symptoms beside an itchy rash.
Rashes With Minor Symptoms
A systemic allergic reaction may trigger a rash on the face, but can be accompanied by respiratory symptoms and swelling. Some children with fifth disease exhibit no other symptoms besides a rash on the cheeks, but, in some cases, the rash spreads to the chest, abdomen and other parts of the body. The chicken pox rash is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms or fever and appears over other parts of the body.
Treatment for an itchy rash depends on the cause. Your doctor may recommend oral antihistamines or an emollient gel for conditions such as contact dermatitis or eczema. To prevent prickly heat rash, avoid hot, humid environments whenever possible or keep your child cool with fans or air-conditioning. Anti-itch solutions, such as calamine lotion, can help reduce the irritation of poison oak and other contact allergies.
Because a rash can indicate an underlying disease, take your child to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis of any rash, especially one affecting the face. Discourage your child from scratching since any break in the skin can lead to infection.