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Id Reaction: How to Care for Your Child

Sometimes when a child has a rash, it can lead to a new and different rash on another part of the body. When this happens, it is called an id reaction. The id reaction rash usually appears days or even weeks after the first rash. It may be bumpy, dry, scaly, or itchy. Sometimes there are blisters or sores. It usually gets better in a few weeks.

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  • Follow your health care provider's instructions for treating the first rash. If the first rash is thought to have an infectious cause, follow the instructions for treating the infection. This will also help the second rash.

  • If medicines or lotions for itching were recommended, use them as directed.

  • If it is comforting to your child, put a wet compress (such as a clean washcloth soaked in cool water) on the rashes.

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  • The rashes do not go away or get worse after you follow your health care provider's instructions.

  • Your child gets a fever.

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What causes an id reaction? The cause is not clear. Some experts think it happens when the germ-fighting immune system reacts to the first rash.

The rashes that most often trigger an id reaction include:

  • an infection with germs (viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites)

  • contact dermatitis (a rash that happens after the skin touches something irritating)

  • eczema (an itchy, flaky rash)

What do health care providers do for an id reaction? A health care provider may use a special tool to pick up flakes of skin from the first rash or the id reaction rash. A lab can test these for germs. The health care provider also may recommend other skin tests or allergy tests. They can prescribe medicine by mouth or cream if either rash is itchy. Treating the first rash usually helps the id reaction rash get better.

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