Heat rashes may not be a serious condition, but they are surely an irritation. These rashes mostly appear on the parts of the body where the perspiration persists for long, and are self-limiting and go away after a certain time (1).
So, how can parents deal with heat rashes in children? MomJunction tells you the symptoms, causes of heat rashes, and some home care tips to try.
Types And Symptoms Of Heat Rashes
1. Miliaria rubra
- This appears as red to pinkish bumps without any pus.
- These are a few millimeters in size and appear as blisters.
- The bumps appear on the fold of neck, forehead, creases of elbow and knee.
- They also appear in the armpits and groin areas (2).
These tend to go away after a few days when the body temperature comes to normal.
2. Miliaria crystallina
- Mildest among the three types.
- Occurs in neonates as their sweat glands are yet to mature.
- 1-2 diameter bumps with clear liquid appear on the neck, axillae, and face (3)
Cooling down the body and avoiding excessive clothing will reduce the rashes within a few days.
3. Miliaria profunda
- Not so common in children, it might develop if miliaria rubra is ignored.
- Flesh-colored larger bumps appear on the skin.
- They itch a little (2).
These might require a visit to the doctor. But what causes heat rashes in children?
Causes Of Heat Rashes
A heat rash occurs due to the trapping of sweat within the sweat pores, and the blocking the sweat gland. Here are a few reasons which might cause blockage of the sweat pores.
- Hot weather is the leading cause of heat rash. It causes a child to sweat more than usual, thus exacerbating the chances of a heat rash (4).
- High humidity also leads to sweating, slowing down the evaporation of sweat, and causing it to stay on the skin longer.
- Overdressing, with too many layers of clothes or tight clothes, in warm weather can cause excessive sweating and heat rash (5).
- Intense exercise and playing outdoors make children sweat a lot more than they do indoors. Intense physical activity can increase the chances of the child getting a heat rash (6).
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat and miliaria, would get resolved within three to four days as soon as your child’s body cools down. However, it can cause itching and prickliness that could irritate the children. Read on to how you may speed up the healing process.
[ Read: Skin Rashes In Children ]
Home Care And Prevention Of Heat Rashes In Children
Most cases of prickly heat do not require a visit to a doctor or medication. You can take remedial steps at home when you notice heat rash. These home care tips focus on preventing the accumulation of sweat and cooling your child’s body.
- Dress in fewer layers of clothing: Heat rashes might occur due to poor evaporation of sweat. Therefore,
- Dress your child in fewer layers of clothes made from natural fabrics like cotton. Cotton absorbs sweat and allows ventilation.
- If your child has a heat rash, you could consider letting them wear only one layer of clothing to let the body stay cool.
- Give a cool bath:
- Let the child have a bath with cool water, without soap or shower gel.
- Keep the water cool to touch and not too cold since that can cause chills.
- Pat dry the skin with an absorbent towel and let the child stand under a fan to allow the rest of the water to dry.
- Cool baths might help soothe itching and the prickly feeling caused by a heat rash.
- Keep cool ambient temperature:
- Keep the fan running at maximum speed in your child’s room during summers.
- If it is hot and very humid, then use an air conditioner to make the temperature comfortable enough to prevent excessive sweating and subside any existing heat rashes.
- Use prickly heat dusting powder:
- Several over-the-counter prickly heat dusting powders help contain itching and absorb sweat.
- Buy a prickly heat powder that is safe for your child’s age and apply the powder on the affected/prone areas.
- Dry off after exercise:
- Let the child stand under the fan after coming back from the outdoors. It helps evaporate the sweat, thus mitigating the chances of prickly heat.
- Plenty of liquids:
- Give your child plenty of water to drink, as that could help bring down the body temperature and prevent dehydration.
If the itching is severe, then make an appointment with your child’s doctor. They may prescribe a 1% hydrocortisone cream to apply on the affected areas.
[ Read: Folliculitis In Children ]
When To Take A Child To A Doctor?
If the rashes do not subside with three to four days and if the following symptoms accompany a heat rash, then take the child to a doctor:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Extreme lethargy or dizziness
- Loss of appetite
- Pus in the blisters
- Swollen lymph nodes
Taking some preventive measures is the easiest way to avoid heat rashes in kids. Your child will be able to manage the sweating better as they grow older. Until then, try to keep them cool in natural and cool fabrics during hot weather conditions.
How did you manage heat rashes in your children? Let us know in the comments section below.
2. Manju Nagpal, et al.; Miliaria-An Update; Research Gate
3. Sudhir Dixit, Ashish Jain, Suhas Datar, and V.K. Khurana; Congenital miliaria crystallina – A diagnostic dilemma; NCBI(2012)
4. A. Gilman, Miliaria Crystallina; Stanford Medicine
5. Carter R 3rd, Garcia AM, and Souhan BE; Patients presenting with miliaria while wearing flame resistant clothing in high ambient temperatures: a case series; NCBI(2011)
6. Andrew W. Nichols; Heat-related illness in sports and exercise; NCBI(2014)