At one time or another your baby will get a rash, whether around the neck or elsewhere. Knowing how to recognize and treat your baby's rash provides peace of mind and one less trip to the pediatrician. Most rashes around a baby's neck are not serious, but if you suspect infection or other life-threatening symptoms are present, call your pediatrician.
Identify the Rash
Visual identification of a rash around your baby's neck helps speed up the treatment and healing process. Often a rash may clear up on its own, but in a few cases it helps to know if the rash requires medication or a doctor's visit. Prickly heat rash and neonatal acne look like raised pimples on the skin. Other conditions, such as cradle cap, eczema and a fungal infection, appear as a red rash that usually includes flaking skin. A stork bite, or salmon patch, is a rash that goes away on its own over time and is only blood vessels close to the surface of the skin.
Treat the Rash
Once a rash is identified, begin the appropriate treatment. A fungal or yeast infection-type rash requires prescription medication after a doctor's diagnosis. Cornstarch or a cornstarch-based baby powder is sometimes a debatable option for prickly heat rashes, but your baby should never inhale the powder as you put it on him or her. Eczema, while not often around the neck, requires less frequent bathing, mild lotion and possibly a prescribed steroid cream in difficult cases. Petroleum jelly or baby oil before bathing your baby helps loosen and remove cradle cap if it's on the neck and head area.
Prevent the Rash
While some rashes cannot be prevented no matter what preventative measures you take, such as stork bites or neonatal acne, a few steps help steer your baby away from a few of the more common rashes. Keeping your baby cool and dry helps prevent heat rash around the neck. In a hot climate, this includes a cool damp cloth to keep the area clean and drying the area completely. Dress your baby in dry, loose-fitting outfits and change often, as the outfit becomes soiled or wet. Diaper cream, cornstarch and even bibs help keep rashes around the neck at bay.
When to See a Doctor
A newborn requires special care when a rash is present. If a baby has a rash with fever, is lethargic or has a cough, call your pediatrician. Most rashes on your baby are not serious, but if you notice blisters with puss or petechiae, see a doctor immediately. Peteciae is evidenced by red or purple dots that, when pressed, don't disappear at all. Puss in raised blisters may indicate a bacterial infection that requires immediate treatment. If your baby has a rash and does not seem to respond normally, talk to your pediatrician to rule out serious problems or get prescribed medications.