Heat rash is a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. Also known as sweat rash, miliaria, and Prickly Heat (just ask the guys!), they often appear as small, red tiny bumps in a localized area. Heat rash is common in babies, and may be rather unsettling when your baby has it for the first time. These bumps tend to be itchy and could really dampen your baby’s mood, meaning constant wailing!

Join us as we find out more about this common ailment, how to prevent it, and treatment methods should your baby suffer from it.

What Causes Heat Rash?

Heat rash is caused by the blockage of sweat glands, often from tight, warm clothing over the affected areas. Concerned parents may overdress their baby in heat retaining, warm clothing, and this is often the cause of heat rash.

“Babies tend to get chubby and have a lot of fat folds,” says Katherine O’Connor, MD, a pediatric hospitalist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. Moreover, babies have immature sweat glands.

Since we live in Singapore, the warm, humid climate is even more conducive for heat rash to appear. Sigh... But there are ways in which parents can prevent and treat heat rash!

How to Treat Heat Rash?

Fortunately, heat rashes heal on their own. The most effective way to treat this ailment is to remove any occlusive clothing. Keep the affected areas clean by wiping with a soft, wet washcloth and allowing your baby’s skin to dry. Ensure that your baby’s room is well-ventilated and sufficiently cool to reduce sweating. Take care not to apply ointments or lotions, since this will potentially lead to further blockage of sweat glands and worsen the rash.

Take care to trim your baby’s fingernails regularly so that she does not scratch the affected areas. One good alternative is to use little mittens on your baby’s hands (aren’t those just too cute), but make sure the mittens are loose enough with good air flow, lest she develop heat rash on her hands as well!

How to Prevent Heat Rash?

As we’ve already seen, the heat rash occurs in highest concentration in covered areas where there is a lot of friction, such as the neck, torso, and fat folds.

To prevent heat rash, make sure your baby isn’t overdressed. Loose-fitting, lightweight clothing is optimal for the hot and humid Singapore climate. Choose natural cotton fabrics since these are made of absorbent material, which allows your baby’s sweat to escape the sweat glands. Synthetic fibers are not the best choice for clothing here.

On days when the weather is really hot, typically in the second and third quarters of the year, avoid keeping your baby in direct sunlight for too long. Look out for shady spots to cool off, and make sure she is well-hydrated by breastfeeding or formula feeding them at regular intervals.

There you have it! Heat rash isn’t a condition to be overly worried about, but if the heat rash doesn’t subside after a few days, consult your pediatrician or family doctor to treat the ailment.

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