Prickly Heat Rash

Your baby’s skin is so delicate and can easily become dry and irritated. The most common irritation in babies is a prickly heat rash. With the right treatment this pesky rash can quickly and easily be dealt with.


How is a heat rash caused?

A heat rash appears when your baby overheats in hot or humid weather. It appears as a bright-red pimply rash, developing on your baby’s neck, under arms, or near the edges of his nappy or underwear.


A prickly heat rash happens when your baby sweats to try and cool down in hot and humid weather. If your baby sweats too much, it can’t escape and the pores get clogged up creating the redness and irritation of a prickly heat rash.


I’m sure we’re all guilty of it, but parents thinking their baby is cold so they dress them in too many layers can be a common cause of heat rash. This can cause the sweat glands to be trapped making the rash worse. So protective parents try not to dress your baby in tight or heavy clothing!


Is it serious?

No it’s not serious. Babies are particularly prone to heat rash because their sweat glands are not fully developed yet.


Baby’s skin is soft and sensitive making it vulnerable to skin irritations and rashes. The slightest bit of friction against this soft skin can cause a rash to appear.


Is a heat rash painful?

It’s not painful for your baby but we’re all familiar with the annoying itching feeling of a rash; you really want to scratch but know you shouldn’t. There can be an intense prickling and stinging sensation that your baby may find distressing. Also, some of the red pimples might be quite tender to touch, so make sure you are gentle when touching your baby.


What’s the treatment for a heat rash?

Most heat rashes clear up in a few days but until then you can follow these steps to help relieve the symptoms:

  • Reduce heat and humidity – move your baby into a cooler room or in the shade. A mini fan is good to use during the hottest parts of the day, circulate before your baby goes to sleep so it cool when you put them down.
  • Take his clothes off or dress him in cotton – whenever you’re able, try to loosen or even remove their clothing to let the skin cool down. Give them as much nappy-free time as possible to let air get to the skin.
  • Keep his skin cool – give your baby a lukewarm bath or shower, or for a quicker solution use a cold, wet flannel directly on the skin. Let the air dry their skin rather than using towels. This is particularly helpful to help heal the rash.
  • Use Calamine lotion – use a calamine product as it soothes the irritation and protects the skin from infection. Apply directly to the irritated area and a thin protective layer occurs around the skin allowing it to heal. This is a good way of soothing the skin if it’s particularly sensitive to touch.


Ways to prevent a prickly heat rash

In warm weather it’s especially hard to prevent a heat rash from occurring on your baby’s skin, but there are ways you can keep them cool. Try to keep your baby comfortable and cool by dressing them in loose, light, cotton.


If you are ever unsure whether your baby’s overheated, touch his skin. Damp hot skin is a sign that they’re too warm. Look for cool or shady places to sit when outside. Make sure your baby drinks plenty of fluids so they don’t get dehydrated.


After the rash has gone, gradually expose your baby’s skin to warmer temperatures to let their skin acclimatise.


When should I take my baby to see the doctor?

  • If your baby has a fever
  • The rash persists after 3 or 4 days
  • The rash appears to be getting worse


Source: Baby Centre & WebMD

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