Saturday, November 01, 2014

Rash Alert: What is the Glass Test? Can I panic now?!

When your kid have a rash on their skin, most times the parents will  first be going "Oh. no", then they start questioning themselves "Is this serious? Should I worry? Should I go to the doctor?" and then...they Google the symptoms....and then they cry or near tears because somehow the result is, something really really bad, probably will cause death. And we haven't even gone to the doctor yet!

Raise of hands how many parents go through this stage at one point or another?
*Mummylicious raises both hands.

"There are a myriad causes of rashes. Most of them are red and splotchy and no one can really tell you what caused it and then they go away, leaving no one much the wiser. There is however, one particular rash that it is really really important that you know how to look for." from Dr Orlena Kerek, Paediatritian, Snotty

So how do you, as a parent, decide WHEN TO PANIC OR NOT TO PANIC?!!!! when we find rashes or anything that look like rashes/ bite marks on our precious children?

First, before you panic worry about the rash and frantically annoy your doctor or run to the ER, do the "glass test". All parents new or not-so-new parents should be aware of this test. Just for the sake of peace of mind, when the situation requires you to be alert, at least you know immediately what to do and annoy your doctor accordingly. 
"The glass test is a simple way of telling if a rash blanches. This means that when pressure is put on the skin, the rash fades. The glass test is useful, because it enables a parent to tell whether a rash is worryingly serious or not.
To perform the glass test
  • Take an ordinary clear glass (or plastic) tumbler
  • Place it on the skin next to the spots
  • Roll it onto the spots, applying firm pressure. Note that the normal skin under the
    glass goes white as the blood is pushed out of the tiny surface blood vessels
  • If the spots fade when the glass is rolled over them, the rash isn’t serious
  • If a spot doesn’t fade, it is a non-blanching rash, and needs urgent medical attention"

 Here I did the "glass test" on PP's HSP Rash.
Not the first time I did this, but it was the first time the rash did not blanche. 

Most doctors won't even bother with a glass. They simply press the rash with their finger. If you cannot find a glass, you can too. But knowing that we are not doctors, you might be doing this several times until you are sure the rash blanches or does not blanche. Your finger might hide the blanching area, so using a glass is clearer and easier to see.

Seeing if the rash blanches using my finger. 
It was quite clear even with my finger, rash doesn't blanche.

"Why is a non-blanching rash so important?
There are many causes of a non-blanching rash and not all of them are particularly serious (for example, some children get a petechial rash around their eyes when they vomit). BUT there is a really really nasty disease called ‘septicaemia’ which often presents with a non blanching rash. It is therefore, worth taking your child to a doctor if they have a non blanching rash. If they have a fever or seem unwell in anyway with a non-blanching rash, I would by-pass your GP and take them straight to A and E. Yes, it’s that serious, it’s not worth taking risks with and no doctor is going to be cross with you if it turns out that your child has one of the mundane causes of a non-blanching rash. Let me say it more loudly: 

Obviously if the rash blanched but your child is frothing from the mouth, high fever, new medications or food, obviously sick/pale/ problem with breathing etc...please seek immediate medical help. It is always best to use your instinct and not one or even multiple source from the Internet. Still worried about the rash? Call a doctor. 

"What to do when your child has a rash
What should you do if you notice a rash on your child's skin? First, don't panic! Most rashes do not require urgent medical care, except for:
  • skin rashes combined with difficulty breathing or swelling of the face or throat
  • skin rashes with extensive blistering or peeling of the skin
  • a rash consisting of tiny, pinpoint reddish or purplish dots that are flush with the skin and do not blanch (turn skin-colored or white) when you push on them; these may signal a serious infection or bleeding problem
Get immediate medical attention for your child if they have any of the above symptoms.
Other rashes don't need urgent medical care but should still be seen by a doctor. Make an appointment to see your child's pediatrician if:
  • your child is under 3 months of age
  • your child has blisters
  • the rash doesn't get better after 3 days of home treatment (see below)
  • the rash interferes with your child's daily activities or causes them significant distress
  • the rash contains pus, appears wet, or is oozing (signs of infection)"
Posts related to the "Glass Test"

Useful information : Read up to be informed and keep the panic at bay. Skin rashes in children (general information on children's rashes. Lots of photos)