How to identify, treat, and prevent heat rash
Worried about red bumps on your child's face?
When your child wakes up covered with angry little bumps, it’s normal to feel a little panicky. One anonymous ParentTown user found her child with bumps on her face, and wondered if it was infant acne.
“Looks like it could be heat rash,” wrote Hui Q.N. Heat rash is also known as prickly heat or miliaria. It’s best to consult your pediatrician to confirm that it’s a heat rash, then treat accordingly, but it’s characterized by:
- Tiny red bumps and redness on the skin.
- The rash is normally itchy, and affected skin can feel like its burning and/or prickly (like something is crawling on it)
- It commonly occurs on areas exposed to the sun, like the hands, face, neck, and elbow folds
- It can also occur in areas covered by tight clothing like the groin, thigh creases, and buttocks.
Make sure to watch for signs of infection, which include:
- Red streaks from the affected area.
- Pus from the area.
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth
- Fever of 38°C or higher
Heat rash are usually the result of blocked sweat glands, which can result from tight and heavy clothing that prevents sweat from evaporating; skin rubbing against other skin; and heavy creams and bandages that can clog sweat ducts.
Babies and small children are more prone to heat rash because their sweat glands are immature and they are unable to get rid of the sweat they produce. This is common when children are overdressed, bundled up for cold weather, or have a fever.
Click to the next page for remedies and prevention.
Heat rashes usually heal on their own, but you can treat them to relieve the symptoms. “Keeping the baby cool and dry is the simplest way to combat this,” Hui Q.N. continued.
- Loosen or remove your baby’s clothing and move him/her to a cool spot
- Instead of using towels, let the skin air-dry
- Avoid using ointments or lotions, which can irritate the skin
- You can use over-the-counter treatments like calamine or aloe vera lotions, but note that excessive use of creams and lotions could aggravate the rash
The best way to prevent heat rash is to keep sweat glands from clogging up. You can do this by:
- Wearing loose-fitting and breathable clothing.
- Keep skin dry, especially areas like skin folds or creases where sweat can accumulate.
- Stay in air conditioning whenever possible if you are prone to heat rash.
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