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Heat Rash in Young Children

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

What is heat rash?

Heat rash is also known as sweat rash, prickly heat, miliaria, or summer rash. It is characterized by tiny red spots or blisters on the skin. Heat rash often appears when a child overheats.

What causes heat rash?

Heat rash occurs when a child sweats too intensely that their pores get clogged, preventing the sweat from getting out. Babies and young children are more prone to heat rash because of their underdeveloped sweat glands. Heat rash often appears in hot weather. However, a child may get heat rash during winter if they wear too many layers of clothing or if they have a fever.

How does heat rash affect my child?

Although heat rash is not serious, it’s a sign that the child is overheating, which may turn into more severe problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you dress your child too warm when they go to sleep, they may be at risk of SIDS.

How to treat heat rash?

The first thing to do when you notice heat rash on your baby’s skin is to remove their clothing and bring them to a cooler place. Rinse their body to get rid of sweat and oil. You can put cool, wet washcloths on the rash to lower the temperature. Then, let your child’s skin air-dry or fan it dry. Do not rub your child with a towel to avoid irritating the affected area. Do not put anything on the rash unless prescribed by a doctor. Try to expose your baby’s skin to the air as much as possible by letting them stay naked or only put on light and soft clothing. Since heat rash is itchy, you should trim your baby’s nails short so that they will not scratch and hurt themselves. Or, you may put socks on your baby’s hands at night so they will not scratch themselves while sleeping.

How to prevent heat rash?

−To prevent heat rash, keep your baby in an air-conditioned room or a cool and shady place if your baby wants to play outside.
−Make sure your baby is always well hydrated.
−Only dress them in light and loose clothing made from absorbent fabrics.
−Avoid using plastic diaper covers.
−Keep your baby’s neck, crotch, and skin folds clean and dry
−Avoid using baby powders since they may cause blocked pores and respiratory problems in your baby.
−Check your baby regularly to see if they are overheating.
−Use a fan or an air conditioner in your baby’s room but do not let the fan blows directly at them. Your baby should only have gentle breezes.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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