General Question

Supacase's avatar

Any idea what this rash might be?

Asked by Supacase (14543points) April 24th, 2012

Saturday I noticed my daughter had a splotchy rash covering her right arm and leg. I looked at the left leg and saw a small spot that started spreading in front of my eyes. It didn’t hurt or itch. She had been in the sun for about an hour on & off. She was not wearing sunscreen, so no reaction to ingredients, and she has never had that type of reaction from just being in the sun before.

Anyway, the entire thing was gone by Sunday.

Last night I saw a fingerprint size red splotch on one cheek. This morning, both cheeks are bright splotchy pink. It doesn’t hurt or itch.

I thought fifths disease, but it doesn’t really fit since the cheeks usually happen first. Then again, the two may not be related and another rash may pop up to indicate fifths.

She has no fever or other symptoms and is acting fine. I don’t think a trip to the doctor is necessary. I’m not worried – just curious.

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Was she playing outside again? Maybe a plant she touched amd then touched that part of her body? Some sort of minor reaction?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It is a pity that because of how the US medical system works that parents hesitate to have their child’s unfamiliar symptoms properly assessed before they cause potentially serious, long-term harm.

bewailknot's avatar

It does sound strange, and the rashes may not be related, but if it keeps happening you probably should take her to a doctor. I had a friend whose daughter had similar rashes starting about age 3 and it turned out to be a mild sensitivity to cows milk.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence While I understand your point, this doesn’t sound like a case where a parent is dragging their heels in going to a doctor due to the cost of healthcare. Even in countries where there is national healthcare, people don’t run to the doctor for any little infliction. In this case, the daughter is only experiencing a skin rash. Nothing else.

The OP just wants to hear some possible causes from other people. It arms the OP with possibilities to consider based upon other peoples’ experiences, especially if a trip to the doctor’s office is deemed necessary.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t usually wait to go to the doctor because of money, I usually wait because either I feel they won’t have an answer, or I think I will leave crying from how I was treated. Having to pay for that is insult to injury, but it is down at number three on the list of why I hesitate.

Pandora's avatar

That happens to me randomly. But mine itch like crazy. I found that it will usually go away with just washing the area. If its spreading than I take a benedryl. For your daughter it could just be a heat reaction since it doesn’t itch. Try having her clean the area with ice cold water and see if it goes away quickly. If that doesn’t work than try the benedryl.
She may be slightly allergic to the sun or even the sun screen.

SpatzieLover's avatar


I agree with @Dr_Lawrence. I personally think a rash that doesn’t itch that appears after sun exposure sounds like a pretty big deal.

YARNLADY's avatar

OK, you can’t afford a doctor – so use the respected medical sites on the internet, such as the Mayo Clinic or webmd

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY Where did she say she can’t afford a doctor?

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie ooops, I mistook your comment for the OP.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY It’s partly my mistake, I should have addressed my comment to @Dr_Lawrence.

cazzie's avatar

My son goes all rosy cheeked when he has spent time outside. It is not something I would take him to the doctor for, and I have public health care.

Was the area of her skin exposed to the sun? Was she wearing short sleeves and shorts, I mean? Was it one of the first times she was outside after being cooped up all winter? What is her ethnicity? Is she very fair skinned? Do you use fabric softener or dryer sheets? Was she playing on a trampoline or anything that may have been stored for the winter and just brought out?

It didn’t itch. It was gone the next day. She wasn’t sick in any other way.

She didn’t say she couldn’t afford a doctor, she said that there was no reason to take her to a doctor.

There is such a list of things it could be, and most of them harmless, seeing as how the rash went away in 24 hours and she has no other problems.

funkdaddy's avatar

For some reason I have a similar reaction to citrus and sunlight, neither affects me by themselves.

I kept getting small red marks on my arms and face, I looked everywhere for something that might be causing it. It turned out to be that I’d take an orange and go sit outside, peel the orange, and a little bit of juice (or maybe zest?) would land on me and then react with the sun. It fades in a day or two and doesn’t bother me at all, just looks like a cluster of flat red pinpricks.

Maybe this is common, I’m not sure, but it could be something similar for your daughter.

cazzie's avatar

That is one of my thoughts, @funkdaddy . The photo-sensitizers in citrus essential oils contact our skin via all sorts of ways. Mainly, perfumes added to washing powder, dryer sheets etc. Citus oils + skin exposed to sunlight will look like a rash or a sunburn.
“Photosensitivity is caused by ingesting, inhaling or coming into skin contact with photosensitisers – substances that cause photosensitivity. Photosensitisers include industrial chemicals, drugs, plants and some essential oils and fragrances. Some medications can cause photosensitivity. Check with your doctor or pharmacist, as alternate medication may be available.”

She could have leaned up against something in a garage or a plant, or a dog that had been sprayed for fleas and ticks…. the list is endless, really, when you start thinking about the chemicals in our environments. The good thing is that her skin did what it is meant to do; protect and be a barrier. There was initial irritation and redness and then it went away. Her skin and immune system worked.

You may want to find out where she went, if you aren’t sure yourself, to perhaps find out what it may have been she came into contact with in case it is something particularly nasty, like ant spray or weed killer. Not sure where you live, but with spring time, people are doing ass sorts of gardening stuff and pulling toys out that have sat in dirty garages all winter.

I have a 7 year old boy and I have to constantly think ‘Murphys Law’.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Supacase It has been a month since this question was posted. Would you mind providing an update? How is your daughter doing?

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