A heat rash, which is also referred to as prickly heat, occurs when sweat ducts become blocked. This HealthHearty article provides information on the contributing factors, symptoms, and treatment of heat rash in babies, especially on the face.
Infants have a soft, tender, and delicate skin, which is why parents need to be extremely careful. Since the immune system of infants is still not fully developed, they are susceptible to skin conditions. Infants can get affected by skin conditions such as cradle crap, diaper rash, milia, eczema, yeast infection, heat rash, etc. Parents need to take precautionary measures during summer, as heat rash is quite common at this time.
Babies have a very sensitive skin, and any change in the environment could cause rashes. Heat rash, which is commonly known as prickly heat, summertime rash, or sweat rash, occurs when the skin pores get clogged with sweat. Medically referred to as Miliaria rubra, this condition leads to eruption of tiny red or pink bumps on the baby’s skin.
Hot, humid climate is the main reason behind the development of prickly heat in babies. In winter, sweating is induced by the layers of clothing that the baby is wearing. As a result, the child’s body heats up, thereby causing him/her to sweat. When the baby begins to sweat a lot, the skin pores get clogged. Also, babies have smaller skin pores than adults. At times, sweating might occur due to a fever. Basically, these rashes appear on the parts of the body where the clothing fits snugly. The appearance of heat rashes on the baby’s face, scalp, or forehead could be due to sweating or friction caused by a hat.
So, how does a heat rash look like? Well, this skin condition is characterized by small bumps on skin that cause the surrounding skin to appear red. The rashes often appear on the skin folds in the groin, buttocks, chest, stomach, or neck. On the face, these rashes might appear on the forehead, when the child is made to wear hats or caps. These bumps could appear on the side of the face and neck, where the child rests his/her head while sleeping on the pillow or the mother’s shoulder. Basically, these bumps appear on part of the skin where there is friction from clothing.
Precautionary Measures and Treatment
First and foremost, don’t wrap the baby in too many layers of clothing. If the baby has developed prickly heat, steps have to be taken to cool off the skin. You can do so by dipping a cotton cloth in a solution made by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of cool water. Place the cloth on the rash for about 5 to 10 minutes about five times a day. This will help prevent itching. You can even apply a thin coat of calamine lotion on the skin.
Application of aloe vera gel will help soothe the irritated skin. You can even apply salicylic acid pads on your baby’s skin to unclog the pores. The use of antihistamine and hydrocortisone cream could help prevent the constant itching.
Do not make the baby wear synthetic clothes in summer, as it will lead to prickly heat. Cotton is a breathable clothing that will help keep your baby cool and dry. Also, avoid taking your baby outdoors on a hot day. Keep the infant well hydrated. Parents should also avoid wearing synthetic, woolen, or abrasive fabrics. When you hold your baby in your arms, your clothes could cause skin irritation, which might cause a heat rash.
When the weather is hot and humid, dress your baby in clothes made from cotton. Apply calamine lotion to keep the skin moisturized. If the rash doesn’t disappear soon, consult the pediatrician at the earliest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.