Even if you're careful, your child could still develop heat rash, so it's helpful to know how you can treat it. In most cases, heat rash will heal on its own in a matter of days. But the condition will usually cause your child some discomfort and irritation until it does heal, so there are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms.
The first thing you should do if you notice your child is developing heat rash is to get him or her out of the sun. Take the child to a cool, shady spot and remove any excess clothing. If the skin is particularly sensitive from the heat rash, you can give him or her a cool bath or shower to soothe the symptoms. Let your child air dry instead of using a towel, though, to avoid irritating the skin further.
You can also apply calamine lotion to the area to relieve itching and burning, but keep in mind that many lotions will only cause more irritation. The best way to decrease symptoms of heat rash is to cool off quickly in an air-conditioned place.
Until the heat rash heals, dress your child in light and loose clothing to avoid any rough fabric from rubbing on his or her skin. If possible, keep your child out of diapers if the heat rash is in this area.
In rare cases, heat rash can develop into a more serious infection. Symptoms can include:
- Fever and chills
- Pus drainage
- An increase in pain, swelling or redness
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
[source: Mayo Clinic]
If any of these symptoms occur, you should contact your doctor immediately.
For the most part, though, heat rash is not something to be overly worried about. Stay inside and keep cool when the weather is hot, and you can prevent heat rash. Keep reading for more information on heat rash and the complications associated with it.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Alai, Nili, M.D. "Heat Rash." eMedicineHealth. (Accessed 9/1/2009) http://www.emedicinehealth.com/heat_rash/page4_em.htm#Causes
- BabyCenter. "Heat Rash." September 2006. (Accessed 8/19/09). http://www.babycenter.com/0_heat-rash_10881.bc?showAll=true
- Levin, Nikki, M.D, Ph.D. "Miliaria." eMedicine. March 11, 2009. (Accessed 9/1/2009) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1070840-overview
- Levine, Norman, M.D. "Understanding Heat Rash." WebMD. Dec. 3, 2008. (Accessed 9/2/2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-heat-rash-basics
- Mayo Clinic. "Heat Rash." Jan.18, 2008. (Accessed 9/1/2009) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-rash/DS01058/DSECTION=prevention
- MedicineNet. "Heat Rash" Aug. 4, 2008. (Accessed 9/2/2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/heat_rash/page2.htm#todo
- Nissl, Jan, R.N. "Heat Rash." WebMD. August 1, 2009. (Accessed 8/19/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/heat-rash-topic-overview
- Rauch, Daniel, M.D. "Babies and Heat Rashes." Medline Plus. Oct. 23, 2007. (Accessed 8/19/09)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001966.htm
- VisualDxHealth. "Heat Rash or Prickly Heat in an Infant or Baby." Dec. 22, 2008. (Accessed 8/19/09).http://www.visualdxhealth.com/infant/miliariaRubra-treatments.htm