‘It Looked Like He’d Been Punched’ – Adelaide Toddler’s Mysterious Rash Diagnosis


Little Archie was 13 months old when he developed a mysterious rash on his body. At first, it was very faint and only on his legs but it quickly spread to other parts of his body in just a few hours.

Before deveoping the rash, Archie had a bit of a snotty nose and a slight cough, which he’d had for a month. The little boy had been recently put on antibiotics but doctors were sure it was nothing more than a cold or a minor respiratory infection.

‘Just didn’t feel right’

The morning after developing the rash, Archie’s mum, Bec, noticed the rash had spread to his face and his back and was becoming more obvious on his body and legs.

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Source: Instagram

I wasn’t panicked but something just didn’t feel right about it so I took him to the local hospital,” she explains on her Instagram page, navigatingsweetchaos.

“After waiting for seven long hours we were seen and I was told it was roseola infantum – we were told it is very common in children and were sent home with the promise of a district nurse to come and check him the next day.”

When they returned home, Archie got worse. He developed a fever and was extremely unsettled. A worried Bec, who is a mum-of-three, stayed up most of the night with him, trying to console him.

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Source: Instagram

He barely slept, his body was so swollen,” Bec told 7news. “It looked like he had been punched – they were like purple bruises over his whole body.”

The poor little guy would scream every time he moved and, by morning, the rash had turned into raised, purple blotches all over his face and limbs. The rash and swelling spanned from his face all the way to his feet and he wasn’t able to bear weight.

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Source: Instagram

He would scream if we picked him up but then scream if we sat him down. I didn’t know what to do.”

‘I thought he was going to die’

The district nurse arrived to check on Archie that morning and refused to touch Archie. She thought he had meningococcal. Bec’s partner, Dean, immediately rushed Archie back and he was admitted straight away.

mysterious rash on toddler
Source: Instagram

Doctors began conducting tests and taking photos – as the rash developed in front of their eyes.

So many doctors came, including trainees, and just kept saying they hadn’t seen anything like this. I thought he was going to die.”

For two agonising days, Bec and Dean were unsure what was wrong with their son until they finally got a diagnosis – acute haemorrhagic oedema of infancy (AHOI) – a rare condition that usually presents in children less than 2 years of age.

While it looks incredibly distressing,  AHOI is considered benign (not harmful) and it usually resolves spontaneously in a few weeks.

For Archie, it took just two weeks and the rash had completely disappeared. He was on a prescribed cream for 48 hours and is now back to his active happy self with no underlying effects. He’s now an adorably cheeky little preschooler and a big brother.

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Source: Instagram

Because the disease is so rare, it is unknown what causes it but doctors believe, in Archie’s case, it might have had something to do with the antibiotics he was on. Bec was warned that he could have a flare-up again, but it should vanish entirely as he gets older.

Bec shared Archie’s story on her Instagram page, reminding other parents to “Always trust your motherly instinct…no one knows your children better than you.”

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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