Rashes: Many forms of juvenile arthritis cause rashes on the skin. Many kids develop rashes, caused by anything from poison ivy, eczema or even an allergic reaction to a drug. But faint, pink rashes that develop over knuckles, across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, or on her trunk, arms and legs, may signal a serious rheumatic disease. These rashes may not be itchy or oozing, and they may persist for days or weeks.

Weight loss: Healthy, active children may be finicky about eating, refusing to eat because they say they’re not hungry or because they don’t like the food offered. Other children may overeat and gain weight. But if a child seems fatigued and lacking an appetite, and is losing rather than gaining weight, it’s a sign that her problem could be juvenile arthritis.

Eye problems: Eye infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye) are relatively common in children, as they easily pass bacterial infections to each other during play or at school.  But persistent eye redness, pain or blurred vision may be a sign of something more serious as including some forms of juvenile arthritis cause serious eye-related complications such as iritis, or inflammation of the eyes’ irises and uveitis, inflammation of the eye's middle layer.

While many early symptoms of juvenile arthritis could be easily mistaken for other childhood diseases or injuries that aren't serious or long-lasting, it’s important for parents to get a proper examination and diagnosis from their pediatrician. Juvenile arthritis includes many different diseases, but one common thread between them is that they can have serious, even life-threatening impacts on a young child. Diagnosis by a physician can determine the cause of the symptoms, rule out injuries or other diseases, and suggest treatments to ease her symptoms so she can return to school, playing and enjoying childhood.