Viral Skin Infections - Treatment and outlook

My doctor said my child has a viral rash - what can I do?

  • If your child has a high temperature (fever) or a mild illness and they've come out with a reactive viral rash then no treatment at all is necessary.
  • As adults, we see a rash in our children and think 'that must be itchy' but these types of rashes are hardly ever itchy at all.
  • Putting cream on their skin won't help, because the rash has come from inside their body.
  • Antihistamines don't work either, because the rash hasn't been caused by histamine!
  • These rashes fade in a few days by themselves: just be patient.
  • Other rashes that go away without treatment are hand, foot and mouth disease, pityriasis rosea and molluscum contagiosum.

Is there anything I can do for chickenpox?

  • Often with chickenpox the spots look really bad but when you ask the child, they say the spots don't really bother them that much: they just feel really ill.
  • Simple things are best for chickenpox: some cream that you keep in the fridge, like calamine lotion or any other type of moisturiser.

See separate leaflet called Chickenpox.

Why does my cold sore keeping coming back?

  • Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex.
  • It's a very stubborn virus: once it's got inside your system it stays inside you for years.
  • Although each time you get a cold sore it goes away in a few weeks, the virus lies dormant: it's never fully killed.
  • If you're a bit run-down, or on any medication that lowers your immune system, the cold sore is likely to come back.
  • You can treat it each time with an antiviral medicine like aciclovir or famciclovir which helps it go away more quickly.

Did you find this information useful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Why not subcribe to the newsletter?

We would love to hear your feedback!

Dr Oliver Starr
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
29415 (v1)
Last Checked:
23 July 2017
Next Review:
22 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.