DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Viral skin infections

Several common childhood viral infections cause widespread exanthems (rashes):

Other viral syndromes include:

Localised skin conditions caused by viral infections include:

In the future, we expect to classify more skin conditions as viral in origin as more sophisticated tests for viral particles become available.

Viral infections including viral hepatitis sometimes give rise to:

What tests should be done?

Tests for viral infections may include:

How are viral infections treated?

Viral infections usually resolve without treatment. There are few specific antiviral agents. See individual conditions for general management advice.

Herpes virus infections may be treated with aciclovir and similar agents. Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections and are ineffective for viral infections.

Rest and paracetamol for relief of symptoms are important.

Related information

On DermNet NZ:

Other websites:

Books about skin diseases:

See the DermNet NZ bookstore

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand

DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service.
If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.