Babies are well-known for their smooth and blemish free skin; however, they are prone to developing rashes just as adults are. Identifying the cause of a baby's rash is the first step in finding the proper treatment. Rashes found on babies aged 6 to 36 months are often the result of environmental factors or infections, each requiring a specific treatment plan.
Rashes on babies are sometimes the result of skin irritation, which can be the caused by several things. Common causes of skin irritation are allergies, soaps, fabric, detergents or lotion. Irritants may cause a mild rash characterized by red bumps or a more severe rash involving blisters and swelling. An example of a rash caused by an irritant common in babies 6 months to 36 months is diaper rash. Diaper rash occurs on a baby's bottom due to new foods introduced into a baby's diet, antibiotics or infrequent diaper changes. The best way to treat irritation rashes is let the area remain uncovered whenever possible and to apply a barrier ointment such as petroleum jelly.
Viral and Bacterial Rashes
Bacterial or viral infections can cause several symptoms in babies including rashes. Roseola, a viral infection common in babies 6 months to 2 years old, causes a high fever followed by a rash over the entire body, according to the Kids Health website. Hand, foot and mouth disease, another viral infection affecting babies and children, causes a painful rash with blisters and raised bumps. Impetigo, a bacterial infection common in very young children because of its contagious nature, is caused by staph and results in a rash with blisters, according to the MedicineNet website. Prescription strength creams or antibiotics are needed to treat rashes caused by infections.
Chronic Skin Condition Rashes
A rash may be a symptom of a skin condition such as eczema. Eczema causes red, dry and irritated skin on the face and limbs. Eczema is typically triggered by factors including allergies, heat and stress. Most kids see improvement in their skin by age 5 or 6, but reappearance of eczema is possible during puberty states the Kids Health website. Other skin conditions affecting babies include baby acne and psoriasis. Chronic skin conditions such as eczema are typically managed with corticosteroids creams.
Rashes caused by life threatening illnesses require immediate medical attention. Life threatening diseases that present rashes on children include Meningococcemiam, characterized by a rash caused by broken capillaries under the skin. Other symptoms include nausea, headache and muscles aches, according to the Medicine Health website. Children are especially susceptible because the bacteria spreads from the nose and mouth, leaving those less likely to have good hygiene, such as children, more susceptible. Another life threatening illness, toxic shock syndrome caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus, will show a rash resembling sunburn.