Tips to Prevent Prickly Heat rash for your baby

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Baby Problems

What is a prickly heat rash?

Prevent Prickly Heat rashIf you observe small red rashes on your baby’s neck, under his arms, or near the edges of his diaper,nappy or underwear, it is probably a heat rash. Do not panic. Prickly heat rash is also known as Milaria that occurs in hot and humid weather.

The rashes usually in groups appears in the folds of the skin and in areas where the cloth sticks to the body, such as the upper chest, neck, groin and armpits. If you put a cap for your child, the head also gets affected with rashes.

Is prickly heat a serious health problem?

No, appearance of prickly heat on your baby’s body is only an indication that the baby is affected by the heat and environment. Baby feels itchy and is restless. You need to take steps to cool down the room, wear appropriate clothing and make baby comfortable.

If you are not alert baby can develop a serious condition such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Baby will have to be shifted to a hospital for further recovery.

Causes of prickly heat

When it’s hot and humid outside, your child sweats to cool down. A prickly heat rash develops when baby sweats so much that his skin pores are blocked and sweat can’t get out. Babies and young children are particularly prone to heat rash because their sweat glands are not fully developed.

Your baby can get too hot if you overdress him, even if he just a newborn. Tight or heavy clothing can trap the sweat as well, contributing to the irritation.

Ghee, oils and lotions used for your baby’s massage also tend to clog the pores of his skin. Ensure you give a good bath after an oil massage session. This will wash off any residual oils and allow your baby’s skin to breathe.

Tips to prevent Prickly heat rash for your baby

Common observation is that the prickly heat rashes will clear up in a few days time unless the rash gets infected. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can do to relieve your child’s itching and discomfort:

  • Keep your baby cool: Keep your baby in a cool airy room or a shady spot when outdoors. If your baby is walking already, encourage him to slow down from time to time to keep his sweating in check. Make sure your baby gets enough to drink to replace all the fluids he is losing through sweat.If you must step out and about in the summer heat, make sure your baby’s head is covered. Recommended to stay indoors during the peak heat hours. The hot summer winds can be dangerous and weaken your baby due to dehydration.It is safe to use ceiling fan, air cooler or air conditioner in the room where the baby is placed. Care should be taken to see that the baby is not getting direct blow of air. Even newborns need to be kept cool because they are not very good at regulating their own temperature yet. The temperature of AC should be set to avoid over cooling and baby catching a cold. The changes in temperature from one room to the other can also be difficult on a baby.
  • Avoid carrying the baby all the time: Holding your baby too often means in addition to the external heat he is contact with your body temperature. Teach and Practice the baby sleep with the cradle. When baby is awake let him go around on his own on a cotton mat. He will remain cool when left alone. Feeding a baby may end up getting sweaty all over therefore ensure there is air around. Minimize baby’s cloths too.
  • Dress your baby appropriately: Select lightweight cotton clothes for your baby. Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, as they trap heat. Minimize clothing if possible at peak hours within the house. Baby moving around with a nappy or diaper is fine.

The mother also needs to wear light colored clothes, avoid wearing clothes with embroidery, mirror work, sequin work or lurex threads as these may scratch your child’s already irritated skin when you carry or breastfeed him. Also, use simple cotton bed linen. Heavy thread-work bedcovers or bed sheets may irritate your child’s skin. Use a soft cotton sheet to cover your baby while he sleeps.

  • Keep his skin cool. Cool the affected areas directly using cold, wet wash cloths, or give your baby a tepid (luke warm) bath or shower. Let the air dry his skin as much as possible rather than using towels; a little more nude time can help heal the rash.
  • Trim baby’s nails : Your child may begin to pick his skin or scratch himself vigorously, when the prickly heat rash starts itching. Trim his nails to prevent any injury or infection
  • Use calamine lotion. If your baby is irritable and cries when you touch his skin, apply calamine lotion liberally (but not near the eyes).

Ointments and other lotions are best avoided as they can make the rash worse by trapping moisture in the skin. Home remedies are also ideal for the prickly heat rash in a baby. Consult your pediatrician prior to making any changes in the medicated prickly heat powder or introducing an ayurvedic preparation

Meet the doctor if your baby has high temperature. The doctor may prescribe medication to ease the itching and help baby sleep on time. Be alert and keep an eye on the baby’s overall health and temperature.

Further reading: The importance of setting a baby’s routine

Related posts:

  1. Why do babies get diaper rash?
  2. Diaper Rash – how to recognize it
  3. How to Treat Diaper Rash
  4. Preventing Diaper Rash

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