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Bacterial and Viral Rashes

Rashes in the Newborn

When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, every little bump or red patch causes alarm. It is normal for your baby to have some skin rashes. Diaper rash and cradle cap are par for the course with newborns. If you suspect that your child has more than a simple skin irritation, it is best to see a doctor.


  • Symptoms
    • Small yellow to white dots on the face and the gums occur in healthy newborns.
    • A small cyst of skin cells is the cause.
  • Treatment
    • Milia go away by themselves and require no therapy.
    • These dots are not contagious.

Seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap)

  • Symptoms
    • Cradle cap is a greasy, scaly, red, bumpy rash that can occur on the scalp, behind the ears, in the armpits, and the diaper area.
  • Treatment
    • This rash is not harmful and can be easily treated by your doctor. No emergency care is required.

Infantile acne

Infantile acne is a disorder that will go away on its own and that occurs primarily in male babies in the first 6 weeks of life. Although treatment is not required, you can discuss options with your doctor.

Erythema toxicum

This rash has a scary name but should really be called "the normal newborn rash" because it occurs in about half of all newborns.

  • Symptoms
    • The rash starts with small blisters on a red base.
    • Sometimes only the blotchy red base shows, and sometimes the blisters have a white or yellow material inside.
    • The rash starts the second or third day of life and usually gets better in 1-2 weeks.
  • Treatment
    • The rash is not serious, is not contagious, and does not require treatment.
    • The rash can look similar to other types of rash, so see your doctor with any questions or concerns.

Miliaria (prickly heat)

This rash includes small, clear blisters usually on the nose. It is caused by the production of sweat in a warm environment and plugged sweat glands. This rash is more common when the child is dressed too warmly. It gets better on its own.

Candidal rash (yeast infection)

This diaper rash is a fungal or yeast infection of the skin by Candida albicans. This is the same organism that causes thrush, the white plaques in the mouth of infants. The combination of the moist diaper environment and the presence of C albicans in the normal gastrointestinal tract of children causes a candidal rash.

  • Symptoms
    • An intensely red, raised rash with discreet borders is found. The borders may have a ring of fine scales.
    • Surrounding the main area of rash there may be smaller lesions, called satellite lesions, which are characteristic of candidal diaper rashes.
    • The rash tends to involve the creases and folds because of the warm, moist environment.
  • Treatment
    • This rash is easily treated by medications available from your doctor, but it tends to recur. Your doctor will want to check for thrush as well.

Seborrheic dermatitis

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