rash, viral

Also known as viral exanthem. There are many human viral infections of childhood that cause the child to develop a rash toward the end of the disease course. Often the rash starts on the head and progresses down the body and out onto the extremities. Usually, about the time the rash appears, the fever associated with the infection disappears and the child starts to feel a lot better. Several viral illnesses have rashes associated with them that are reliable in appearance for diagnosis of the illness (measles, rubella, fifth disease, roseola, chickenpox) but most of them are too variable to diagnose accurately. So we just say, "It's a virus." Thus it is a good sign, and when your pediatrician tells you "It's just a viral rash, he'll be OK now," believe her.

See also the general discussion of exanthems.

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