Heat rash is also known as miliaria or prickly heat. There’s a few different kinds and the rash can range from mild small pimples to deep red lumps. Its generally a pink or red rash which can be made up of dots, spots or pimples – most often these affect the head neck and shoulders. Heat rash occurs when your baby’s sweat glands become blocked and become swollen, itchy and generally uncomfortable! It often occurs under clothes where the heat is worst and the material rubs off it causing further irritation and friction.
Babies suffer from heat rash more commonly than adults – perhaps this is because they can’t regulate their own heat as well. Also remember that when you get warm you can remove a layer of clothing whereas babies have to rely on us to do this for them. It can be hard to tell how warm a baby is but a good rule of thumb is that you dress them with the same number of layers as yourself. So if your sitting relaxing in a room and feel a bit warm the chances are your baby does too. Never use your babies hands or feet to judge their temperature as they are often cold despite your baby being perfectly comfortable. Instead place your hand at the back of their neck as this gives you a much better sense of reality.
There are some occasions when you should see your doctor – these include:
- If the rash lasts longer than 3 or 4 days.
- If your baby is suffering from a high temperature – read my blog on fever here!
- If your baby’s rash is weeping or oozing any form of discharge.
- If your baby seems swollen or there’s a lot of heat on the area.
- If you feel swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck, armpit or groin areas.
- If your baby has a rash and you are worried – contact a doctor.
Treatment is fairly straightforward because the best thing you can do is keep a close eye on your babies temperature and if they feel warm or the room is warm dress them appropriately – the same number as layers as yourself! Keeping their skin cool is the best way to clear prickly heat – which sounds easier than it is if your on holidays in a hot climate!
Here are some tips!
- Keep your child in loose fitting light clothing in warm climates
- Keep your child out of the sun when possible if they have heat rash.
- Hide and seek refuge in air-conditioned places when in hot countries!
- Don’t rub your child’s skin dry – ideally let it air dry or alternatively pat it dry as rubbing can further irritate the skin.
- If your child’s skin is not dry you can avoid heavy moisturisers or those which contain petroleum or mineral oil (most of them..!)
- If your child’s skin is itchy you can try applying calamine lotion to soothe their discomfort.
- Try anhydrous lanonin – available through pharmacies – to prevent blocked ducts and stop further lesions from occurring.
- Take cool or tepid baths.
- Ensure your child is drinking plenty of fluids.
- Avoid fragranced bath or shower products.
- If your child is over two you may be able to use an antihistamine – to read my article about antihistamines click here!
- In severe cases your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream. This should be applied sparingly to the affected areas only.
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!