Most parents want to protect their children from everything -- sickness, pain, hurt. And with so many major problems out there, heat rash might seem like the least of their worries. However, heat rash is a relatively common condition, particularly in babies. In most cases, it develops when well-intentioned parents overdress their children in hot and humid weather [source: Rauch].
Heat rash usually appears as a patch of red or pink bumps on the areas of the skin covered by clothing. When the sweat ducts become blocked, sweat is trapped under the skin, causing swelling and redness [source: Alai]. Often, clothing can further agitate the area if it continues to rub against the irritated skin.
There are three types of heat rash with varying, but similar, symptoms.
- Miliaria crystallina looks like a scaly cluster of small water blisters on the skin.
- Miliaria rubra shows the same small water blisters, but tiny red bumps or patches will also develop around the affected area.
- Miliaria profunda is recognized by small, skin-colored bumps.
You will usually see miliaria crystallina on your children's head, neck, or shoulders, and miliaria rubra tends to develop on the armpits or groin area. Miliaria profunda is usually more common in adults than in children. Although usually not too serious, heat rash can sometimes develop into a more serious infection [source: Levin].
Even though children are resilient creatures -- and heat rash is easy to treat -- there are steps you can take to prevent it. Read the next page to find out how the sun exacerbates heat rash and how to keep both you and your child cool and rash-free.