Heat rash is a mild skin condition often suffered by babies when they get over heated. It is also known as prickly heat or miliaria.
Parents often worry if their child is in pain because of heat rash. It is not a serious condition and not painful but it can get very itchy if proper measures are not taken.
Even though the condition is not serious itself it is an indicator of the fact that your child’s body is too hot. If you do not take immediate action to cool him down, other more serious conditions like heat exhaustion, heat stroke or dehydration might take place.
What is heat rash?
Heat rash appears on a baby’s skin as hundreds of tiny pink or red eruptions, each surrounding a pore. Sometimes they resemble tiny water blisters.
The rash usually occurs on the baby’s cheeks, neck, shoulders, skin creases, diaper area and wherever clothes fit him snuggly.
Although heat rash is more common is hot and humid climate, it can also occur in cold weather if the child is over heated due to heavy clothing.
How is heat rash caused?
Heat rash is caused by excessive sweating and a hindrance in the passage of that sweat out of the skin.
The sweat glands normally release sweat through the duct onto the skin’s surface. When perspiration cannot reach the skin’s surface because of folds of skin or tight clothing, the sweat may break through the walls of the ducts and become trapped inside the internal layer of skin, causing inflammation.
This is known as heat rash. Babies and younger children are more likely to get heat rash because their sweat glands are not fully developed yet.
How can heat rash be treated?
Most heat rashes clear up themselves in a few days. If it persists for longer, seems to be getting worse and is not responding to medicine, consult you baby’s doctor. Usually the baby can be relieved of the rash in the following methods:
- Avoid heat: Foremost, it is important to get rid of what causes the rash; heat. Move to a more airy place if you are indoors. In outdoor areas look for a cooler and shadier place and try to get the child some rest time if the rash is being caused by him running around in a hot and humid weather.
- Avoid heavy clothing: If a baby starts to get very hot and develops heat rash remove his clothing if possible. If not then dress him in lighter clothes. Always opt for cotton and natural fibers instead of nylon or polyester which trap heat. When a baby has developed heat rash try to give him as much nappy-free time as possible.
- Keeping the skin cool: To directly cool the affected area of the baby’s skin give the baby a cool bath. After a bath, let the skin air-dry and do not use towels, they can cause friction and irritation with the rash. Like a little nappy-free time, allowing the child some nude time also quickens the healing process.
- Applying cream: Use calamine lotion directly on the baby’s skin taking special care to avoid the eyes. You can also use a hydrocortisone cream if your doctor advises so for a severe rash. Avoid using any other cream or lotion on the baby’s skin as it traps moisture and makes the rash worse.
Some important things to remember about heat rash are that when adopting the above ways to cool down your baby’s body temperature, keep an eye out for it.
The baby might get chilly and need to be warmed up again. To avoid heat rash, make sure your child is wearing light clothes whenever you venture outdoors in a hot and humid climate.
Clean the sweat prone areas with wet wipes to avoid clogging of the pores by excessive sweat. Heat rash can also be caused by fever.
If your baby has fever, in addition to following these above steps investigate into and treat the baby’s fever which is the real cause of the rash. Remember, heat rash is caused by fever but fever is not caused by heat rash.