Heat rash (prickly heat) is a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. It can develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell and often leads to discomfort and itching. Heat rash is most common in babies, but it may affect adults in hot, humid climates.
In babies, heat rash can be caused by well-meaning parents who dress their baby too warmly, but it can happen to any baby in very hot weather. A baby should be dressed as an adult would be to be comfortable at the same temperature and activity level. Babies' hands and feet may feel cool to your touch but that does not mean they need to be dressed too warmly in hot weather.
Heat rash looks like dots or tiny pimples. In young children, heat rash can appear on the head, neck, and shoulders. The rash areas can get irritated by clothing or scratching, and, in rare cases, a secondary skin infection may develop.
Heat rash can usually be identified by its appearance and does not usually require medical attention. But if it doesn't go away after 3 or 4 days, or if it appears to be getting worse, or if your child develops a fever, contact your doctor right away.
When you or your child has a rash, be sure to watch for signs of infection, including:
If any of these symptoms develop, contact your doctor immediately.
Most prickly heat rashes heal on their own. The following steps can help relieve symptoms.
The following tips can help prevent future episodes of the rash:
After the rash is gone, gradually expose your child to warmer temperatures so that his or her skin can acclimate.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofNovember 20, 2017
Current as of: November 20, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine
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