Prickly heat rash affects toddlers and babies as excess of warm winter clothing and dry hot air circulating from room heaters leads to excess sweating. The sweat glands of a baby are often not fully developed. They tend to get clogged with excess sweat, leading to winter prickly heat rash in babies. This rash is typically seen all over baby’s body, and particularly face, arms, elbows, chest, groin and other regions having loose folds of skin. In this guide, we will consider prickly heat rash treatment and prevention tips which parents can use to protect their baby’s sensitive skin this winter.
Symptoms of winter prickly heat rash in babies
- Prickly heat rash in baby can affect the face. The delicate facial skin might appear red, irritated and swollen with tiny pustules or pimples.
- The baby might be cranky and might cry excessively.
- The bumps could turn itchy leading to scratching. If the baby’s nails are uncut, this could lead to cuts or even secondary skin infections.
- There may be mild fever present.
How long does prickly heat rash last in toddlers and babies?
Typically, prickly heat rash in babies and toddlers will go away within a few days. Winter prickly heat rash might worsen as one continues to swaddle and wrap the baby up too tightly in sweaters and blankets. Prickly heat rash affecting baby’s face usually goes away within 3-4 days. You need not apply anything to the rash as certain baby products could further clog the pores and worsen the rash. We will discuss prickly heat rash treatment and prevention below.
Importance of temperature regulation in case of newborn babies
Warmth is a basic need for a newborn baby. It is critical for baby’s well being and even survival. If the environmental temperature is very low, the baby cannot warm itself. Over-zealous parents however tend to go overboard by bundling and wrapping the baby up tightly in blankets and sweaters. This could lead to winter prickly heat in case of babies with sensitive skin.
The best way a mother can keep baby warm is by letting it suckle at her breast at every 2 hours. The baby may be dressed in a nappy or a diaper with little bit of extra cotton clothing. When the mother wants to rest or bathe, the baby can be handed over to the father or a grandparent covered in blankets. Do not wrap the blankets too tightly around the baby. It is best to dress the baby up in comfortable clothing in layers.
Prickly heat rash baby powder
Prickly heat rash baby powder might not treat existing winter heat rash in babies. It is preventive in nature though, and may be used in summers to prevent excess sweating. In winters, you can use the powder on your baby, but it might end up drying its skin. If you baby is suffering from winter related skin dryness, bathe it gently using mild cleansing products. You may also use some baby lotion to moisturize the skin. If baby is already suffering from winter prickly heat rash and its skin is particularly itchy, your pediatrician might prescribe a cream or lotion. Over the counter hydrocortisone cream may also be used; it helps reduce itchiness and inflammation caused by the winter prickly heat rash.
Bathing the baby
Bathing a newborn is a great way for parents to bond with their baby. Here are the guidelines for bathing baby suffering from winter prickly heat rash:
- Bathe the baby quickly and gently-avoid using very hot water; warm water is best.
- Dry it quickly and thoroughly
- Wrap the baby in a dry, warm towel
- You can use prickly heat baby powder or any other prescribed medicine for the existing heat rash
- Dress the infant quickly in warm clothes. Place a cap on baby’s head and place the infant near the mother.
- Make sure the room is warm but not too hot.
- Cover the baby with a blanket if needed. Do not swaddle or wrap too tightly.
Prickly heat rash treatment and prevention in babies and toddlers
Babies and toddlers are at a greater risk of developing winter prickly heat rash because their sweat glands are not fully developed. There are several steps you can take to prevent heat rash in babies in the cold winter season:
- Avoid excess heat in the baby’s room. Avoid placing the baby’s bed too close to the fireplace or the room heater.
- When bathing the baby, do not cool down its body too quickly. This will lead to shivering and cause the baby’s body to try to warm itself too fast. This could end up aggravating the heat rash. Use warm water for bathing the baby.
- Make sure the baby nurses every few hours to prevent dehydration. In case of toddlers, you must ensure they drink adequate water, unsweetened fruit juice etc.
- Dress the baby up in layers. Cotton clothing is the best as wool can be abrasive to the delicate skin. Cotton helps absorb sweating and keeps the skin cool.
- You may apply calamine lotion on the baby’s skin to prevent itchiness. Calamine is gentle enough on baby’s skin and can help reduce soreness and irritation that is typical in case of winter prickly heat rash.
- As stated above, low strength hydrocortisone cream is also effective. Apply it all over the itchy and red areas of baby’s delicate skin. Avoid using hydrocortisone when baby is suffering from prickly heat rash on the face.
- Antihistamines may be given to toddlers having winter heat rash, but do talk to your pediatrician first because they may not always be suitable.
We hope these prickly heat rash prevention tips help you protect your baby’s delicate skin from winter prickly heat this cold season.