COVID-19 Symptom: Rash in Children
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
- COVID-19 rashes are one of the most common symptoms of the virus infection in kids and teens
- Rashes can occur on various parts of the body and take on different forms, such as hives, blisters, or small, raised bumps
- COVID rash in children may last for several days to a few weeks, but the duration can vary depending on the type and severity of the rash
- Most rashes do not require any treatment and go away on their own
Many conditions may cause a rash in children. Numerous studies now indicate that COVID-19 is also one of the possible causes of skin rash. It's even suggested to be one of the most frequent symptoms children experience when infected with the coronavirus, so it's important to keep COVID-19 in mind if you notice that your child has developed a rash.
How is COVID-19 related to a rash in children?
The exact cause of COVID-19 rash in children is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be a result of the body's immune response to the virus. When a child is infected with the COVID-19 virus, their immune system produces antibodies to fight off the virus. In some cases, the immune response can trigger an inflammatory reaction that results in a skin rash.
- Pseudo-chilblains. Also known as COVID-19 toes, this is a painful inflammation of the fingers or the toes, causing the toes to become red, swollen, and sore. This COVID rash can also occasionally occur on the hands. If so, the fingers will become red, swollen, and painful.
- Morbilliform rash with macules and papules. This is a rash with rose-red flat or slightly elevated eruptions. It can resemble measles.
- Urticaria. Also known as hives, this rash presents itself as itchy wheels, which are raised red or skin-colored bumps on the skin.
- Vesicles. These rashes are small fluid-filled blisters.
- Vaso-occlusive lesions. Blood clots in small blood vessels cause these rashes. This causes reduced blood flow in the affected area of the skin.
MIS in children who have had COVID-19
A rash can be seen in children that develop MIS-C as well. MIS-C stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It’s a condition that causes inflammation in different parts of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or intestines.
The exact cause of MIS-C is not known yet, although it has been associated with COVID-19. This condition is rare but serious, so it’s vital to be watchful and to contact your doctor if your child experiences symptoms such as: 6 7
How long does a COVID-19 rash in children last?
Generally, the length of time a COVID rash lasts in a child depends on the type and severity of the rash. Typically, the rash may persist for several days up to a few weeks, and the symptoms go away on their own after a few days.
There are, however, a few concerning signs which you should watch for, including: 6
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Not waking up easily
- Pale, gray or blue-colored skin
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, then you should contact emergency services immediately. If your child has a continuous fever, a loss of appetite, or signs of dehydration, you should contact your doctor.
How can COVID-19 be diagnosed in children with rash?
Rashes in children are common and can be caused by a variety of conditions, and it is difficult to diagnose a Covid rash as it has no single distinctive form. Diagnosing a rash and COVID-19 in children typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation and testing. 8
A doctor will start by conducting a physical examination to assess the appearance and characteristics of the rash, as well as any other symptoms that the child may be experiencing. The doctor may also ask questions about the child's medical history and recent exposure to COVID-19.
Depending on the physical exam findings and medical history, the doctor may recommend COVID-19 testing, which can help confirm whether the child has COVID-19.
If the rash is not due to COVID-19, the doctor may perform additional tests or refer the child to a specialist to determine the cause of the rash. These tests may include skin biopsy, blood tests, or allergy testing.
How to treat a COVID-19 rash in children?
A COVID rash in children usually doesn't require any specific treatment. The rash and any other symptoms typically go away within a few days. It's important to let your child rest and drink plenty of fluids while recovering from an infection with the coronavirus.
If the rash is bothersome, you can go to your doctor or try to soothe the itching with the following home remedies:
- Cool compress. This can help to “cool” the itch and ease swelling.
- Oatmeal bath. Helps to soothe irritated skin. By oatmeal bath, it does not intend for the type of oatmeal to eat but it's Colloidal Oatmeal and prepared specially or bought OTC.
- Anti-itch topicals. Applying over-the-counter (OTC) products like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion may alleviate itching or swelling associated with a certain rash.
- Antihistamines. Medications like Benydryl can help ease the symptoms of COVID-19 rashes.
A rash is a frequent sign of COVID-19 in children. Luckily, the coronavirus usually only causes mild illness in children, and the rash will typically go away on its own after a few days without any additional treatment.
Q: Is a rash a symptom of COVID-19 in children?
A: A rash is one of the most frequent symptoms of COVID-19 that can be noticed in children.
Q: Can COVID-19 cause a rash in children?
A: It occurs frequently that COVID-19 causes a rash in children. If your child develops a rash after COVID-19, together with a fever and other symptoms of MIS-C, then you should contact your doctor immediately.
Q: What does COVID rash look like in toddlers?
Some of the common types of COVID rashes in toddlers include small raised red bumps, hives, fluid-filled blisters of Painful red or purple bumps on the toes or fingers,
Q: When should I be concerned about my child's COVID rash?
You should be concerned if the rash is accompanied by trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, not waking up easily, or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin.
Q: How long does COVID rash last in a child?
The duration of COVID rash in a child can vary depending on the severity and type of rash. In general, COVID rash may last several days to a few weeks.