- A fine pink rash caused by overheating
- Mainly on the neck, chest, and upper back
- Tiny, pink bumps
- Mainly on the 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
- Also called "prickly heat"
- 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 the hair. Heat rash of the face of a breastfed baby can be caused by lanolin put on the nipples. Heat rash of the chest can be caused by menthol ointments put on for coughs.
- Older children can get heat rash with hard exercise.
When to call your doctor
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Fever and looks infected (spreading redness, pus)
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Looks infected (spreading redness, pus), but no fever
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Rash is not gone after 3 days of treatment
Parent Care at Home If
- Heat rash
CARE ADVICE FOR HEAT RASH
- What You Should Know:
- Heat rash is caused by blocked-off sweat glands.
- It's common in hot, humid weather.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- 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.
- 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 being used for a cough.
- What to Expect:
- With treatment, heat rash will clear up in 2 to 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash lasts more than 3 days on this treatment
- Rash starts to look infected
- Your child becomes worse
Author: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last reviewed: 12/14/2012
Last revised: 1/13/2013 4:19:19 PM