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Baby illness

Everything About Heat Rashes

Heat rash are the fluid-filled bumps on the skin. It happens when sweat ducts in the skin are blocked and sweat gets trapped. A heat rash can appear suddenly and look alarming, but it is not usually a cause for concern.

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Updated on:
September 29, 2022

What is a heat rash?

Heat rash are the fluid-filled bumps on the skin. It happens when sweat ducts in the skin are blocked and sweat gets trapped. A heat rash can appear suddenly and look alarming, but it is not usually a cause for concern. Babies have delicate skin and are more likely to get heat rash than adults.

Causes

  • Babies’ bodies are less effective at regulating temperature. So they already tend to have higher body temperatures than adults. Add crawling, cruising, running, and climbing to that, and their temperatures climb even higher.
  • Babies have little control over their environment and cannot take off extra clothing or move away from heat sources.
  • Babies tend to have more skin folds, which can trap heat and sweat.
  • Heat rash can sometimes occur while children are sleeping. If pyjamas are bulky, blankets are too heavy, or the fabric doesn’t breathe, these items could be trapping heat and perspiration.
  • The bumps show up where there’s friction, like where one body part rubs against another, or where tight-fitting clothes rub against the skin.

Most common sites

  • Armpits.
  • Neck.
  • Folds.
  • Inner thighs.
  • Elbow and knee creases.

Symptoms

  • Redness.
  • Small bumps (clear, red, or skin-colored).
  • Itchiness or a stinging feeling.

Types

  • Doctors divide heat rash into three types based on its severity
  • Miliaria rubra is the most common type of heat rash. This type of rash happens when there is a blockage in the sweat glands near the surface of the skin, or the epidermis, and the second layer of skin, or the dermis. It causes bumps, discoloration such as redness, and itching.
  • Miliaria crystallina is the least severe form of heat rash. It happens when there is a blockage in the sweat glands in the epidermis. This type of heat rash can cause tiny clear or white blisters.
  • Miliaria profunda is the most severe type of heat rash, but it is uncommon. When sweat in the dermis leaks into the dermis, it can cause intense flushing and burning. Babies with miliaria profunda may also develop signs of heat exhaustion. The rash may become infected.

Different types of heat rash can have different symptoms:

  • Miliaria crystallina can sometimes look similar to tiny beads of sweat trapped under the skin. The blisters do not look red or inflamed.
  • Miliaria Rubra often itches, so babies may persistently scratch their skin. They may have tiny red bumps or blisters on red and irritated-looking patches of skin.
  • Miliaria profunda usually causes deep blisters that may look like pimples. They are usually skin-colored.
  • Miliaria pustulosa causes irritated pustules that look like painful blisters. They may scab over or break open and bleed.

Treatments and home remedies

  • Keep the area breathable. Do not cover it with layers of clothing.
  • Do not use rash creams on the skin unless a doctor recommends a specific cream. A heat rash is not an allergic reaction, and it is not dry skin. Using creams that treat these conditions may not help.
  • Move the child to a cool area at the first sign of a heat rash.
  • Keep the skin cool and dry.
  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area.
  • Rinse away oil and sweat with cool water, then gently pat the area dry.
  • Regularly clean skin folds to make sure trapped sweat and oil do not make the rash worse.
  • Allow the baby to go naked to keep the skin cool.
  • Use air conditioning or fans to help keep the skin cool.
  • Keep the baby well-hydrated. This may involve nursing breastfed babies on demand and ensuring that older babies have constant access to water.

For severe heat rashes or rashes that do not go away on their own, a doctor might prescribe a steroid cream to speed up healing. In rare cases, heat rashes can become infected, especially if a baby scratches them. An infected heat rash may cause a fever and other signs of illness.

If a baby has a fever or seems sick, see a doctor. They might prescribe antibiotics to clear up any bacterial infection.

Prevention

  • Choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing, such as cotton pants or a gown.
  • Dress babies in seasonally appropriate clothing. There is no need for babies to always be in a swaddle or covered with a blanket, especially in warm weather.
  • Keep babies out of the direct sun.
  • Avoid putting babies directly in front of space heaters or other heat sources.
  • Monitor babies for signs of excess sweating. If a baby looks flushed or is sweating, move them to a cooler area.