Does My Baby Have a Heat Rash?
Determining whether your child has a baby heat rash can be pretty stressful. While baby heat rash is not a serious condition, you undoubtedly want to make sure that any skin condition your child has is not the sign of a serious illness. Recognizing baby heat rash is important so that you can keep your baby comfortable. Just because the rash does not indicate illness does not mean it is not uncomfortable.
Baby heat rash, while not dangerous, is uncomfortable for your baby. It will itch and cause him to fuss. Heat rash is not limited to babies, people of all ages can develop it. The reason it is more commonly seen in babies and young children is because their sweat glands are not fully developed.
Baby heat rash will generally clear up on its own without the need for medical intervention. There are things you can do to keep your baby more comfortable while it clears up. The first step, of course, is determining that it is, in fact, heat rash your baby is experiencing.
Once you are sure you are looking at baby heat rash and not another illness, you will probably be anxious to make him more comfortable. There are not many things you can do to ease the discomfort of baby heat rash. Doing your best to minimize the irritation and itch caused by the rash is the best thing you can do. As long as you alleviate the cause of the rash it will clear up quickly on its own.
Causes of Baby Heat Rash
Baby heat rash develops when excessive sweat clogs up sweat glands. This traps perspiration under the skin. The trapped perspiration leads to red bumps or blisters forming on the skin. Heat rash most often develops not only when the weather is hot, but also humid. Dressing your baby in snug fitting clothes or overdressing him can increase the likelihood of him developing a heat rash.
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If you live in a climate that makes your baby susceptible to baby heat rash, keep an eye for early signs of irritation. Check areas like his back or chest, where he is likely to trap heat from being in a carrier, on a regular basis to make sure he isn’t too warm.
Does My Baby Have a Heat Rash?
The most common symptom of baby heat rash is the development of tiny red bumps on the skin. They often look moist and may be mistaken for blisters or pimples. Common areas for these bumps to form are in the folds of the arms, legs, neck, upper chest and diaper area. They also commonly develop on the face.
From your baby’s point of view, a baby heat rash causes itching and a sensation of prickly pain. Because your baby cannot tell you how he feels, you will probably notice the pain by his restless behavior, trouble getting comfortable, and difficulty sleeping.
Treating Your Baby’s Heat Rash
To clear up your baby’s skin, you need to cool him off. Use tepid water during bathtime. Pat, don’t rub the skin when drying. It is important to keep his skin dry. If the weather is warm, use a fan to help keep the sweat from settling on his body. Do not use lotions or powders, as those will only block the pores, making his rash worse. Allow your child to go without clothes to air out.
When To Seek Medical Treatment
Heat rash does not always clear up on its own. If it lasts more than a few days, seems to get worse rather than better, or your baby seems exceptionally miserable, you should call your baby’s doctor. Other warning signs that your baby should see a doctor is swelling or pustules on the affected areas. This may mean your baby has developed a bacterial or yeast infection. This can occur due to your baby scratching the area. It is important to note that heat from a fever can cause a heat rash, but the fever is not a symptom of heat rash. In other words, if your baby has a fever it is for some reason other than the baby heat rash and should be investigated by his doctor.
How To Avoid Baby Heat Rash
Some babies are more prone to heat rash, and some conditions are more conducive to its development. Spending too much time in a baby sling or carrier can cause heat rash to develop, as can overdressing for conditions. If the weather is hot and humid, try to minimize the amount of time you spend outside.
Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics are the best warm weather choice for your child. Use your air conditioning when driving, as your child can get quite warm tucked in his car safety seat. If air conditioning is not available, try to stay in shaded, well-ventilated areas and use a fan to circulate air.
Other Types of Rashes
Having a sick or uncomfortable baby can be scary. Even when you read the symptoms, you may still wonder does my baby have a heat rash. Understanding some other common rashes your baby may develop may make it easier to tell the difference.
Hives often develop as a complication of an allergic reaction. Hives are very itchy and leave raised welts on the body. The welts are often circular and have a lighter center, and are inflamed around the perimeter. Hives can develop as part of an allergic reaction to food, medication or insect bites or stings. They can also develop as the body’s response to a viral infection. Hives can move around on the body and can last up to four days before fading away. If the hives stay on one area of the body it is often a result of contact of that area with an allergen.
Anytime there is a break in the skin, impetigo can develop. The scratch or opening, no matter how small, can become infected with bacteria. When this happens the area can become inflamed and moist. Pus may form on the area, and yellowish scabs will develop. Scratching can spread the irritation. Impetigo typically requires treatment with either topical or oral antibiotics.
Cellulitis develops as a local skin infection. The affected area will become hot and swollen, and there will be a clear line separating the affected area from the unaffected skin. There is often no visible wound to go along with the infection. Babies who develop cellulitis will also have a fever and not feel well. This condition requires prompt medical treatment.
Scabies is an infection caused by mites. The mite burrows under the skin, causing intense itching. A baby with scabies may develop a secondary infection from scratching, and sores and blisters may form in the affected area. Scabies is very contagious and requires treatment by your baby’s doctor.
Fungal infections can develop as ringworm, a ring-shaped area with an itchy raised edge, or candida infections, such as oral thrush or diaper rash. They often develop in the moist folds of skin. Fungal infections require treatment from your baby’s doctor.
As you can see, there are many different types of rash your baby can develop. When in doubt, it always makes sense to call your pediatrician. They can offer advice, ask questions, and determine if it makes sense to bring your baby in for a visit.
Regardless of the type of rash your baby is experiencing, there are some things you can do to keep him comfortable. Loose-fitting clothing can minimize itching. Keeping his fingernails short, or, if he is young enough to keep them on, slipping mittens over his hands can protect his delicate skin from scratches. These scratches can open the skin up to bacterial infections, which is much more complicated that heat rash.