Dr Marina Hernandez, a paediatrician at Shanghai's Redleaf International Women's and Children's Hospital, shares her top tips on how to keep the little ones happy and healthy this summer so the fun in sun never has to stop.
First of all, what is heat rash?
Heat rash, or what is also commonly known as prickly heat, is a red or pink rash found in areas covered by clothing. In infants, rashes are mainly found on the neck, shoulders, upper chest areas, armpits, elbow creases and groin. It is most common among babies and children, but heat rash affects adults too and is usually seen during hot and humid weather.
Rashes develop because sweat glands become blocked and trap perspiration under the skin. The blocked ducts swell up, leading to bumps that range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Some forms of heat rash feel prickly and intensely itchy, causing discomfort to children.
How can parents prevent kids getting heat rash?
During hot weather, it’s generally recommended to dress babies in light clothing only, as rashes can also be caused by caregivers dressing up babies in too many layers. Remember that if your baby’s hands and feet are cool to the touch, it means they can probably handle wearing fewer items of clothing during warmer weather.
On the other hand, during winter your baby can get heat rash due to heater temperatures being too high. The recommended room temperature during summer ranges from 18 to 23 degrees.
What is the correct way to treat heat rash?
Most of these rashes heal by themselves. To relieve symptoms, you can help your baby cool down by loosening or removing some of their clothing; this obviously helps to make them feel cooler and instead of using towels to wipe sweat off, skin can air-dry.
This is gentler on sensitive skin. If the rash becomes severe, ointments such as Calamine lotion may be used to symptomatically relieve itchy skin. Be sure to avoid creams or ointments that contain petroleum or mineral oil, as they block pores, making irritations worse.
What are some ways parents can prevent children getting heat rash during humid summer weather?
As we’ve mentioned before, avoid dressing children in hot, tight fitting clothing and opt for light, cotton items. Between 10am and 4pm, stay in the shade, or indoors in an air- conditioned space.