Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Heat Rash

Definition

  • A fine pink rash caused by overheating
  • Mainly on the face, neck, chest, and upper back

Call or Return If

  • Rash lasts more than 3 days on this treatment
  • Rash starts to look infected
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

Symptoms

  • Tiny, pink bumps. Mainly on the face, neck, chest and upper back.
  • Occurs during hot, humid weather or after lots of sun.
  • Heat rash can be itchy. Older children may have a "prickly" pins and needles feeling.
  • In babies, the rash can have some tiny water blisters.
  • No fever or illness.

Cause

  • Heat rash is caused by blocked-off sweat glands. Hot, humid weather can cause the sweat glands to be overworked.
  • Babies can also get it in the wintertime from ointments put on the skin. Reason: Ointments can block off sweat glands.
  • Ointments and Location. Heat rash of the forehead can be caused by oil or ointment on hair. Breastfed babies can get a heat rash on their face from lanolin. The mother may use lanolin on her nipples. A chest heat rash can be caused by menthol ointments put on for coughs.
  • Older children can get heat rash with hard exercise.

Prevention of Recurrent Heat Rash

  • During hot weather, try to stay cool.
  • Lower the temperature in your home if you can.
  • Dress in as few layers of clothing as you can.
  • During sleep, be sure your child is not overdressed.

After Care Advice

Overview:
  • Heat rash is caused by blocked-off sweat glands.
  • It's common in hot, humid weather.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Cooling:
  • Cool off the skin to treat and prevent heat rash.
  • For large rashes, give your child a cool bath without soap. Do this for 10 minutes. (Caution: Avoid any chill.) Let the skin air-dry. Do this 3 or more times a day.
  • For small rashes, put a cool, wet washcloth on the area. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. Then let the skin air-dry.
  • Dress in as few layers of clothing as you can.
  • Lower the temperature in your home if you can.
Sleep:
  • When your child is asleep, run a fan in the bedroom.
  • During sleep, have your child lie on a cotton towel to absorb sweat. (Note: Only for older children age over 1 year.)
Steroid Cream:
  • Use 1% hydrocortisone cream. No prescription is needed.
  • Put it on itchy spots 3 times per day.
  • Avoid hydrocortisone ointment.
  • Calamine lotion can also work.
Do Not Use Ointments:
  • Avoid all ointments or oils on the skin. Reason: They can block off sweat glands.
  • Be sure the rash isn't caused by a menthol ointment. This product is put on the chest for a cough. It can cause a heat rash.
What to Expect:
  • With treatment, heat rash will clear up in 2 to 3 days.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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