Skin infections account for a significant subset of dermatologic conditions of childhood. Common cutaneous viral infections in children include warts, molluscum contagiosum, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and herpes simplex. Although viral infections are self-limited and often only mildly symptomatic, they can cause anxiety, embarrassment, and health care use. Recognition of their common and atypical presentations is necessary to differentiate them from other skin conditions of similar morphology. Impetigo, cellulitis, and abscess comprise the majority of childhood bacterial skin infections and are treated with topical or systemic antibiotics that cover group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. Common fungal dermatologic infections in children are oral and genital candidiasis, tinea capitis, and tinea corporis. Management consists of topical and systemic antifungals, including nystatin, triazoles, terbinafine, griseofulvin, and imidazoles. Scabies is the most common parasitic skin infection among children and is managed with topical permethrin. Although serious illness is not common among children returning from international travel, patients presenting with fever and rash, especially petechial or hemorrhagic lesions, require thorough evaluation. Of the numerous reportable conditions that present with childhood rash, tick-borne illnesses, measles, rubella, and varicella are the most common.
Written permission from the American Academy of Family Physicians is required for reproduction of this material in whole or in part in any form or medium.