Slideshow: 12 Common Childhood Rashes

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Photo of baby by Jacob Johan, hand photo by Marc van der Chijs, leg photo by Care_SMC—all on Flickr.   Rash: One word for so many problems. A rash can indicate a simple irritation a bath can soothe, a life-threatening disease, or many things in between. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. This slideshow has pictures of common childhood rashes, but this is for general information. In your case, the rash may not look like it does in these photos. And as you’ll see, one rash can easily be confused with another. This blog gives ideas for what to do when getting to a doctor is difficult or impossible. But children with rashes are special creatures. They can seem fine and get sick quickly. See a doctor if you can. Now, on to the rashes! […]

By | January 16th, 2013|Children, Rashes, Skin|174 Comments

Your Child Has a Rash. Do You Know What to Do? Part 2

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH My post on rashes in children is by far my most popular. If you haven’t read it, please do. And note the many helpful comments that continue to come in almost daily. It was out of these comments that I picked my next batch of common childhood rashes. […]

By | October 11th, 2012|Children, Rashes, Skin|38 Comments

Is It Really Scabies? Felt-Tip Markers and Other Diagnostic Tricks

Is it a scabies rash? by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. The seven-year itch they used to call it, and if you’ve ever had it, you know the scabies rash itches like crazy—even worse at night. As with head lice, I see more scabies cases when school starts back. It can also become a problem for shelters, nursing homes, even hospitals. Like head lice, the scabies mite feeds on the human body and likes to jump ship, so to speak, when people are in close contact. But, in my opinion, tiny scabies mites aren’t as simple to diagnose as the bigger bugs. […]

By | August 21st, 2012|Critters, Infectious Disease, Rashes, Skin|124 Comments

Your Child Has a Rash. Do You Know What to Do?

This is rash number 7 in the quiz below. Can you name it? by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Everyone with kids knows the drill. Your two-year old awakens you in the middle of the night with, “Mommy, I don’t feel vewy good,” or, “Daddy, my throat hurts.” You fumble around and find their forehead with an, “I sorry.” But yikes. This time they’re burning up. You flip on the light, and the kid looks like he’s been in a naked paintball fight—red splotches everywhere. What do you do? Okay, you’ll probably call the hospital, or the nurse’s hotline, or your primary-care doc. You might even go to the hospital. But what if you can’t? What if the roads aren’t travelable and all you’re getting on the phone is a busy signal? […]

Home Remedies for Poison Ivy (Including Plain Hot Water?)

Poison ivy, with its “leaves of three.” by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Lately, several desperate-sounding readers have asked about home remedies for poison ivy. I feel sorry for them. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac—whichever grows in your neck of the woods—can cause some of the worst itching known to mankind. And it can last as long as a couple of weeks. And all you who brag you can wallow in the stuff without as much as a scratch: Your day may be coming. As with other allergies, you can not be allergic all your life and, wham, one day you feel the itch and see the blisters. After that, you’ve become one of the chosen—allergic for life. There’s no vaccine and no surefire cure for rashes from poison ivy and the like. But here are some things you can do. […]

By | June 14th, 2012|Rashes, Skin|166 Comments

How to Keep a Heat Rash from Turning Dangerous

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Believe it or not, I grew up in Mississippi and didn’t know what prickly heat was until I started my practice. In medical training we didn’t concern ourselves with such trivialities. But in real life prickly heat, or a heat rash, can be quite an itchy, prickly nuisance. Many people came to see me for this, and I learned how to recognize it pretty fast. And the heat-rash remedies? They haven’t really changed in those thirty years. So why, in a survival medicine blog, should I even bring it up? Because in summer disaster situations, with less bathing and no air-conditioning, heat rashes are bound to be more common, and more likely to become serious skin infections. They can even make you more prone to heatstroke. Here’s why. […]

By | May 31st, 2012|Hot, Rashes, Skin, Weather|59 Comments

Tips to Tell You If a Tick’s Made You Sick (Even If You Haven’t Seen One)

About 80 percent of people with Lyme disease from a tick bite develop a target lesion, or bull’s-eye rash. It’s not always so visually well-defined. by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Where I come from, it’s tick season. I suspect it is in your area too. On many a tree leaf or tall grass, the tiny blood-suckers lie in wait—ready to pounce on any warm-blooded creature that gets within distance—eager to share their multiple array of germs. The CDC lists twelve tick-borne diseases in the U.S. alone. Early recognition and treatment is vital to prevent permanent disability, even death. But these diseases can be hard to diagnose. Symptoms can be very general—say, fever and muscle aches—and their onset can be delayed for days or weeks. Tick-borne diseases can be hard for a doctor to pen down. So what if no doctor is available? Here are a few steps you can take to decrease your chance of a devastating outcome. […]

By | April 24th, 2012|Critters, Rashes, Skin|68 Comments

Rash + Sweat – Showering = Disaster! What to do NOW

Don’t have antifungal cream? Tea-tree oil has also been shown to treat jock itch and athlete’s foot. (The brand pictured is from the company NOW Foods, but it’s just an example. I don’t advocate or vouch for any brand.) by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Someone asked in an online forum I follow what to do about jock itch in a prolonged disaster setting. Good question because, ignored, this annoying itch can turn into a devastating infection. Okay, not usually. But during a disaster, in sweaty, unsanitary conditions, the rash can get bad enough to break down the skin, allowing bacteria to get in. The result could be a painful, swollen groin. First, I’d like to set the record straight. This fungus has been stereotyped long enough. Jock itch (tinea cruris) occurs in both men and women. And since it’s the same fungus, different location, I’d like to add that athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is not just for athletes. It can torment the geekiest wimp known to man, or woman. Now what to do about it. […]

By | March 6th, 2012|Infectious Disease, Rashes, Skin|26 Comments