Baby Heat Rash

Baby Heat Rash

As suggested by the name, baby heat rash is triggered in some babies when they become overheated, either because they are overdressed or because it is just too hot outside. As they become hot and sweat, their sweat ducts become blocked and rupture.

Prickly heat, which is also known as miliaria rubra, is the most common type of heat rash. In this form of heat rash, the sweat duct becomes red and inflamed.  They look like small bumps with a red halo around them. These may cause a ‘prickling’ or stinging sensation. This type of heat rash may also cause mild itching. Usually found in areas under a child’s clothing, these bumps can be found grouped together inside the folds of the child’s skin, such as the neck, armpits, and groin. Infants who wear a hat may also get a heat rash on their forehead and scalp.

Just like prickly heat, Miliaria crystallina is a type of heat rash that occurs when the sweat ducts become blocked and rupture. These sweat ducts are closer to the skin surface though and don’t get inflamed, leading to the classic appearance of small clear vesicles on the child’s skin, without any redness or other symptoms, typically on their neck, head, or upper chest. Try to prevent any scratching of the affected areas as this could lead to a secondary infection.

Most methods of preventing heat rash start with the goal of not allowing your child to get overheated and include things like dressing your child in weather appropriate, loose fitting clothing, so that he doesn’t get overheated. Another key factor is avoiding excessive heat and humidity when possible. Occlusive ointments, including moisturizers, or oil based products on a child’s skin, which can also block the sweat ducts should also be avoided.

Although heat rash usually goes away on its own in a few days, some children do require treatment, which can be as simple as removing the child from the environment that triggers the rash.  These include alternatives such as dressing in less clothing.  Moving the child inside to a cooler, air conditioned environment also goes a long way to easing their discomfort.  Mild strength topical steroids, although these usually aren’t needed can be used for treatment if necessary. Calamine lotion is another remedy often used on itchy baby heat rashes.  Another option to try is compresses with cool water.  In the event a secondary infection does occur, antibiotics will probably be needed to treat it.