Viral infections are the most common diseases in childhood. Some of the viral infections are manifested by skin rashes. The skin rash can be before, during or after the infection itself. Of the skin rashes in the childhood some are more important than the others.
Exanthem subitum or Roseola
This infection disease is very common in children. The agent causing the disease is called human herpes virus types 6 and 7. The disease itself is self-remitting. The most frightening feature of the disease is the high fever it causes. The fever can reach high levels to cause febrile seizures. However, after the disease has decreased, a general rash starts to develop all over the body. The rash is symptom free, which means that it is not itchy or painful. No specific treatment other than fever control is necessary.
Exanthem infectiosum or Fifth disease
This infectious disease is caused by human parvovirus B19. The virus causes a distinct rash over the cheek that some name the disease as “Slapped Cheek” disease. The disease is presented like common cold with low grade fever and headache. There is no treatment necessary for the condition as it is self-remitting. However, in adults, the disease is manifested with multiple arthritis and features like rheumatoid arthritis. A fearsome complication of the disease is seen in patients with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait which parvovirus can causes an aplastic crisis. This means that the bone marrow stem cells stop producing red blood cells.
Hand, Foot and Mouth disease
As the name describes the disease in this condition a rash appears almost simultaneously on the hand, foot and inside the mouth mucosa. The rashes are symptom free and sometimes the disease is diagnosed incidentally on a routine physical exam as the baby has no complaints about the rashes.
Measles and Rubella
Measles and rubella were among the most common viral disease in the era before vaccination. These diseases are prevented via regular childhood vaccination. These disease share common features together as much as rubella is known as German measles. The measles is preceded with common cold features like nasal discharge and fever while rubella is accompanied by post auricular lymphadenopathy. Generally speaking the disease are accompanied by itchy rashes that spread through the body and are bothersome. Measles, however, has been accompanied with other complications like aseptic meningitis while rubella causes congenital heart diseases and deafness in the baby if the mother is infected during the pregnancy period. Thanks to national vaccination both diseases are rarely seen these days.