Babies are little magicians who can change your boring world. Luckily their magic needs a lot of care and support.
Baby’s growth years are the times that are full of happiness and worries. In fact, the latter is more evident. There will be times when everything would seem to be fluent and absolutely correct. Unfortunately more often will be the times when your baby would be cranky.
Obviously, a baby is not going to tell his/her mother that I am hungry. More serious conditions will be those when the baby has some problems that might be pain or some kind of infection. Babies have weaker immunity and thus have greater chances of getting viral, bacterial or fungal infections more often than not.
Some infections are normal and almost every normal baby gets infected at least once in childhood. Heat rash is also an infection that is pretty common in babies. Being common does not mean that it can be ignored. This article will help you to identify, cure and prevent heat rash.
what is Heat Rash?
“HEAT RASH” is one kind of skin infection that appears in the form of blisters/pimples due to the trap of perspiration in sweat glands. These pimples are also called prickly heat or miliaria.”
Well, it’s just one kind of simple rash and least hazardous of all. This infection primarily infects the baby’s skin due to the trap of excessive sweat in sweat glands of the skin.
Sweating is a natural process then why it gets trapped? The answer is pretty simple; sweat glands are just like gateways for the sweat that excrete body fluids.
Any kind blockage in these sweat glands or excessive sweating will get caught in the glands and then force itself out of the skin in the form of a heat rash. Babies are more easily infected because they have less developed body pores that get clogged easily.
Types of heat rash:
Three types of heat rash are described by doctors depending upon severity:
- Miliaria Crystalline is the least stinging type of heat rash. Epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) is affected in this type. Clear whitish bumps appeared in this type. These bumps burst upon scratching. Normally, they do not sting or itch and more apparent in young babies.
- Miliaria Rubra generally is known as prickly heat is more severe than miliaria crystalline. This usually affects the epidermis and, in some cases, a deeper layer of skin. Bumps caused in this type are soppy that can prick or irritate and can even fill with pus in more chronic cases. It is more typical in toddlers and preteens than babies.
- Miliaria Profunda is the most infrequent in young children. It stays for longer terms and become chronic. It affects dermis (a deeper layer of skin). Bumps in this type are larger, tougher than two other types and neither clear nor red but more flesh-coloured. It is a condition in which not only sweat gets stuck in sweat glands but leaks out forming fluid-filled cavities/pockets.
Baby heat rash causes:
The basic cause of heat rash is clogging in sweat glands which are more common in hot and humid conditions. It often affects the blocked body pores. The sweat trapped in these glands then causes irritation and form heat rash. Common reasons for this blockage are;
- Use of tight clothes in summer
- Excessive or unnecessary use of carriers/slings in the hot and humid weather
- Wearing heavy clothes that effect proper excretion of sweat
- Friction between skin crinkles where skin rubs together like thighs and arms
- Barrier creams contain zinc-oxide by wiping them each diaper can cause more irritation
- Areas of skin where it folds and sweat cannot escape like armpits, groin and around the neck
- Improper hydration
- Use of pre-packed wipes which contain alcohol and chemicals to wipe diaper area
- Use of heavy ointments, lotions and creams block sweat glands
- Exposure to heat for longer periods of time causes excess sweating
- Wrong laundry routine and use of excessive detergents
Heat rash might infect your baby while he/she is sleeping. If blankets or coverlets are too heavy, they will stop proper perspiration. Bulky diapers and pajamas will cause the same problem. Un-comfortable room temperature is one of the basic causes also.
Also, do not let your baby sleep for too long in hot and humid weather. Especially, if the mattress on which the baby is sleeping has plastic covering. Remove the plastic covering or do not let your baby sleep on it.
Carelessness is the mother of all causes of all health issues including heat rash. Especially, for those babies who have caretakers for them. Unintentional, might also be an appropriate word for these unlucky situations; because no-one is such cold-blooded, in case of a baby.
Look, when a baby is sleeping having a wet blanket and the Caretaker or guardian (parents) is busy in some other work. This carelessness might not only affect a baby’s sleep. It might also clog the body pores. As a result, sweat will force them to escape and form heat rashes.
It is just one example from the daily-routine that is full of mistakes like this. Heat rash is just an ordinary infection and your carelessness may lead to this serious problem.
Baby heat rash symptoms:
To check whether your little one is infected with heat rash you must know its Symptoms. Red bumps on infected areas that include the area around the neck, upper chest, armpits, legs, arms, and diaper area as well.
Heat rash symptoms usually last for 2-3 days. These symptoms will make your baby restless and extra cranky. Baby’s sleep will get affected as a result of the burning sensation on the skin. To norm the situation you must identify it.
The identification of heat rash includes its typical appearance. Red bumps on the skin in the form of blisters that might swell if the situation gets worst in some rare cases.
Caution Babies have immature disease prevention abilities so a fever or even warm weather might also cause heat rash in babies.
Baby heat rash preventions:
Like all other diseases and infections that in reality are more complicated than heat rash. This simple infection can also be prevented by adopting casual precautionary measures. Prevention, in fact, is the best treatment for heat rash.
Some basic preventions are the use of air-conditioners while travelling and in houses during soggy weather. Due to soggy weather, Skin folds need proper ventilation. Exposure to heat for longer periods of time will accelerate sweat production.
- Your baby’s clothes should be lightweight, soft and well-cleaned. The thinness of baby clothes should be normal and according to the weather. Clothes with too many layers can affect proper perspiration.
- Diapers should be changed regularly.
- Keep the baby’s skin clean by regular bath and showers. Baby soaps and ointments can be used before and after the bath if there is no infection yet. Keeping the skin clean will not only help in the prevention of heat rash but many other skin infections.
- Lack of laundry will leave remain detergents and washing powder which will break conventional ventilation. It can stop the sweat to escape properly. Avoid using space heaters in excess and keep your baby away from direct
- Fluids must be given to the baby on a regular basis to ensure proper working of the excretory system.
Along with the above-mentioned preventions, the primary one is complete care. To make sure, proper excretion of sweat; that is possible if sweat glands have zero clogs.
When to call a doctor?
In some rare cases, these rashes can cause some serious illness. Observe if your baby looks very sick and gets fever accompanied with the heat rash then do call your paediatrician. After al precautions still heat rashes do not get clear with home remedies or lasts for a few days then, a visit to your baby’s doctor will be a good idea.
Heat rash might spread to other areas of skin. In worst condition, heat rash gets pus that makes your baby grumpy. In these situations, a doctor’s evaluation is necessary. Only prescribed medicines should be used to avoid any side effects.
If you see any neurological disorder in your baby like; an unusual sensitivity, unintentional shaking, or body stiffness then beware. These are signs of Meningitis (swelling of membranes in the brain and spinal cord), which is a serious infection, and the patient will require urgent medical evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is there any particular vaccine for baby heat rashes?
Vaccine means to help the body in producing antibodies for the disease or infection. Heat rash is caused due to clogs in sweat glands, and no vaccine is directly useful for heat rash. You must keep your baby’s vaccination schedule up-to-date because it will help your baby’s immune system.
Does it spread through the air?
Heat rash is not an infection that transmits from one individual to the other, normally. It may spread further on the infected body if not dealt with properly. If the rash spreads, the bumps might swell and get reddish in colour. The patient might feel more irritated.
It is better, not to let your baby get close to strangers and those who have an infection or any symptoms of heat rashes.
Why more concerns for babies?
It is not only heat rash that baby’s get infected with easily. Babies have a weaker immune system and are less efficient to prevent diseases and infection.
A baby will neither address you about the problem nor can prevent it him/herself. It’s the care-taker/parent’s duty to inspect the situation.
Body pores of a baby are amateur and excessive sweat cannot escape. Proper preventive measures must be adopted not only for heat rash but for proper growth.
What to take away?
Skin infection is usually a non-chronic infection that can be treated without any medical assistance somehow. Most of the skin infections go away without any special remedy. It is better to prevent it instead of using any medication, especially in babies.
Heat rash is a normal, yet, itchy situation. Using the above-mentioned precautions, you cannot only prevent heat rash but many other more serious kinds of rashes like
Diaper rash- caused due to acidity of baby’s urine and faeces
Drool rash- caused due to uncontrolled falling of saliva from baby’s mouth
Eczema- caused when skin patches become inflamed and rough
Some viral, bacterial, and fungal infections like chickenpox, roseola, measles, and scarlet fever can also be prevented.
Tips for you:
- The mantra is to keep your baby uninfected from all skin infections is very simple. Keep your baby’s skin clean and ensure the proper temperature in his/her surroundings.
- Heat rash is an infection that will get cleared by just keeping the infected area dry and cool. Use baby soaps during bath.
- A naked crawl around the house will provide the proper ventilation which is helpful for the removal of clogs in sweat glands. However; try to spend more time in rooms that have air-conditioners and proper ventilation.
- The use of fans during hot summer days is effective to avoid the rehabilitation of heat rash. This way you may prevent further spread of infection.
- Calamine lotion or anhydrous lanolin is a common ointment used to stop burning sensation in the heat rash. It has the ability to keep the sweat glands open even when they get soggy. Some anti-bacterial soaps are also helpful but using soap improperly will be dangerous.
- Try to avoid citrus and acidic foods like tomatoes in your baby’s diet.
- A wet, soft cloth should be preferred in place of pre-packed wipes. These wipes contain chemicals and alcohol that are not good for the baby’s skin.
- Using any type of non-prescribed lotions or creams is not good at all. Their coatings will further clog the sweat glands, and sweat will not escape means welcome to the “baby heat rash.”