Helping a Baby With a Heat Rash

By C. Giles
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A heat rash, also known as prickly heat or millaria, is a skin rash that appears as small red bumps, often accompanied by a stinging or prickling feeling. People of all ages can suffer from heat rashes. If your baby has a heat rash, there's no reason to worry. You can take steps to reduce your little one's discomfort.

Causes of Heat Rash

Heat rashes are usually caused by excessive sweating. When the sweat glands are blocked, the sweat becomes trapped underneath the skin, leading to irritation and the appearance of small raised spots, which sometimes resemble tiny blisters. A heat rash can appear anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, neck and back. According to the UK's National Health Service, a baby often suffers from heat rashes because her sweat glands are not yet completely developed. It is common for a baby to have heat rashes in the folds of her skin, wherever her clothes are tight and on her scalp or forehead if she wears hats.

Keep Baby Cool

A heat rash is a sign that your baby is too warm. Heat rashes are most common in hot temperatures, but a baby may also develop a heat rash in winter if he has a fever or is wearing too much clothing. Removing some layers of clothing, loosening tight garments and taking him into a well-ventilated room will help cool your baby down.

Soothe the Skin

Applying a cool soft cloth to your baby's skin will help to ease pain and discomfort. BabyCenter, the award-winning pregnancy and parenting website, recommends a lukewarm bath with two teaspoons of baking soda per nine quarts of water. It is not advisable to rub your baby's skin dry with a towel; instead place her on a clean towel and let her skin air-dry. Creams and ointments are not advisable when she is suffering from heat rash, as these can trap moisture and exacerbate the problem.

Further Precautions

If your baby's room is hot at night, a fan in his room will keep it cool. The fan should be directed near his sleeping area, but not directly on him. The idea is for your baby to be comfortable, but not cold. Keeping your baby's fingernails trimmed means he cannot scratch himself to relieve the itch of a heat rash, which can make his skin bleed and cause further discomfort.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."