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Dealing with Summer Rashes in Children

Dealing with Summer Rashes in Children

Summer means spending more time outdoors. However, the increased exposure to things like sunlight, insects, plants, and sand can cause some itchy and painful rashes. Learn more about dealing with summer rashes in children with Dr. Aishani Shah, the consultant dermatologist at Mubadala Health Dubai.

Kids have skin that is thinner than adults and their immune systems are not fully developed, making them more sensitive to sun, allergens, and infections.  

In summers kids tend to spend more time outdoors playing, splashing, exploring and even around other children, hence there is a chance of bug bites and superficial skin infections 

An itchy rash or sunburned skin can quickly sideline the summer fun.  You can help keep your days carefree by learning how to prevent these summer skin problems. 

How to Prevent Common Summer Rashes and Skin problems

1| Dry, irritated skin:

This is very common due to either spending time in the sun, pool or air conditioning. A humid environment can also lead to itchy irritated skin. 


Ensure that your child takes a shower immediately after getting out of the pool and that a fragrance-free moisturizer is applied after every shower. Avoid excess use of sanitizers. 


2| Eczema:

This is a chronic skin condition, which is known as “Atopic Dermatitis” in children. It generally worsens during cold climates. However, due to constant use of air conditioning during summertime, the skin is prone to dryness. During the summer holiday time travel to places with different climates can also impact the eczema flare ups. Chlorine in the swimming pools can also trigger the eczema flare. If left untreated, the constant itching leads to a week skin barrier and thus makes the child’s skin prone to infections such as staphylococcal infections. 


Adhere to a strict moisturization routine. Use a medical grade fragrance free bland emollient to moisturize your child’s skin. Apply ample moisturizer prior to swimming. Reach out to your dermatologist as they may recommend an emollient based on the eczema activity.


3| Impetigo:

This is a bacterial skin infection quite common in hot & humid weather. It causes a rash that can be itchy and associated with fluid filled blisters or yellow scabs. Can develop where there is a break in the skin or even on normal skin, especially around the nose and mouth. 


This is highly contagious. Infection can spread to others or to other parts of the body. Once the treatment is initiated the child is contagious till the rash heals and all the scabs fall off. Trim your child’s nails & discourage scratching. Talk to a dermatologist, mild cases respond to topical antibiotic creams, in severe cases the doctor may order a skin culture and start oral antibiotics. 


4| Folliculitis:

This occurs due to an infection or inflammation of the hair follicles. It appears as small pus-filled pimples, especially on the thighs and buttocks. They occur due to tight fitted clothing, friction, sweat retention and use dirty pools. 


Ensure that pools are clean and prefer loose fitted cotton clothing for your child. If the bumps are painful and not settling in a few days, it is best to consult your dermatologist. 


5| Molluscum contagiosum:

A viral infection that causes pearly bumps on the skin. It is very common in humid climates. Molluscum contagiosum lesions are contagious.  The lesions can further get infected if the child scratches the skin. Children who have atopic eczema and a defective skin barrier are more prone to getting this viral infection. 


A child with molluscum should not share towels, bedding, clothing with others to avoid spreading the virus. Encourage hand washing and hygiene.  Do not delay treatment. Visit a dermatologist who will cater treatment depending on the extent of the lesions. 


6| Fungal infections:

They can appear as round itchy scaly lesions on the body known as “Ringworm” or as areas with red peeling skin between the web spaces of the toes and fingers. Scalp fungal infections are also quite common. It happens when skin is left moist / wet and not allowed to dry properly.  The infection can spread quickly among student athletes, during the summertime practice and games, when they share sports equipment and locker rooms. 


Ensure that the skin & scalp is completely dry after showers and post swimming. If beach visits are common, use breathable footwear to allow the feet to get dry quickly.  Check and treat any pets that may have the fungus. Use of damp clothing can also add to fungal growth. Do not allow your child to share combs, hats, caps or towels. Make sure the mats used during sports or games are properly disinfected. 


7| Hand foot mouth disease:

This is another viral infection that is common during the summers.  Outbreaks are common in younger children at day care centers and summer camps. It starts with a fever, sore throat or runny nose, along with a rash associated with tiny blisters and often skin peeling. 


Ensure that your child is well hydrated. Children with hand foot mouth disease need to have plenty of fluids. If there are symptoms of pain or fever, reach out to your dermatologist or pediatrician for medication advice. This disease is contagious and thus avoids playdates as the virus may spread through respiratory tract (1-3 weeks).


8| Insect bites:

Mosquito bites are quite common in babies and children. These can cause minor itching associated with red bumps or severe allergic reactions in children. It is not only the itchy mosquito bites that are concerning, but also because mosquitoes can carry diseases 


Use un-scented mosquito repellants. Avoid areas that have stagnant pools of water or blooming flowers. Prefer light weight fabrics like cotton and light-colored clothing. 


9| Sunburn:

Sunburn is a red, painful skin reaction after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It can lead to redness, swelling, blisters and irritation.  Allergies such as hives due to the sun are also quite common in children with sensitive skin.  The skin can start to peel after 3-7 days of the burn.


You can ensure protection by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and in the correct quantity. Also ensure that your child is wearing full sleeved clothing, pants, wide brimmed hats to avoid the harsh UV radiation.  Avoid sending children outdoors during the peak summer hours. Make sure they are well hydrated. If you notice any signs of nausea, fever, chills, confusion make sure you speak to your physician. 


10| Prickly heat:

Heat rash is also known as prickly heat and is caused by obstruction of the sweat duct.  This rash appears as tiny red bumps on areas where there is sweat retention. It can also appear on the skin folds. 


In such cases avoid excessive use of soaps and cleansers as they might irritate the skin. Opt for a well-ventilated environment, and keep the areas affected open, to allow them to heal. Excessive clothing adds to the occlusion and makes the heat rash worse. 


Remember prevention is better than cure. Skin care and protection is important throughout the year, but it is especially important in summer months when the skin is exposed to a lot of external irritants. 

Be sure to speak to your dermatologist and ensure that the skin changes are treated in a timely manner. 


Authored by 

Dr. Aishani Shah

Consultant Dermatologist 

Mubadala Health Dubai


Book Your Appointment with Dr. Aishani Shah Here!