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What Is Heat Rash and How Can I Treat It?

What Is Heat Rash and How Can I Treat It?

Something that started when my son was just a little guy (that I didn't notice until we moved to California), was that his little cheeks would get SO red when we were outside (and yes, I always sunscreen my babes).

When we would get home, he would have these teeny little bumps on his face. I remember losing my mind and calling the doctor the first couple of times it happened. Come to find out, from a very patient doc, that my little guy just had regular, old, everyday, common, and nothing-to-worry-about, heat rash.

If this sounds at all familiar to you, or if you've seen something similar on your littles and have no idea what to do or why it's happening, then here's the question:

What is heat rash and how can I treat it?

What is Heat Rash?

So, let's start with the basics, heat rash is simply a rash that shows up when your little gets too hot. It is more common when your littles start running around, making moves, and can't stand still, because what's happening is all their activity is causing them to sweat more, and that sweat is getting trapped under the skin which can form little bumps, or lead to itchy, irritated, or red skin.

You may also notice infants with heat rash when you head out into the sun or go to the beach for the first time with your babe. It can sometimes be mistaken for baby acne, but in reality your babe might just be getting overheated. Since babies' bodies aren't able to perspire the same way that adults can, they have a harder time regulating their body temps, and that leads to red, irritated, and uncomfortable babes.

In most cases, heat rash doesn't bother your child, and more than likely they won't even notice that anything is wrong. This is definitely the case with my little guy-- considering he never slows down, the only thing that will alert him that there might be a problem is when I drag him over to check it out. However, heat rash can feel similar to a mild sunburn for some kids, and might feel itchy. It can sometimes be described as a "prickly" feeling that is mostly just uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful.

What Causes Heat Rash?

We already know that active toddlers are prone to getting heat rash, but what are some factors that can make it more likely for your little to get a heat rash? Here are a few things to consider that can hopefully help you avoid it for your little:

  • Lots of activity in hot weather, especially in humid climates or under direct sun
  • Too many layers of clothing that aren't allowing your child's body temp to regulate or to allow them to cool down
  • Some skin care products, like sunscreens or lotions, can cause the pores to clog up making sweating difficult
  • Dressing your child in pajamas that are too thick for the weather, or having too many blankets

There are also some medical conditions or medications that can make it hard for your little to cool off, and OF COURSE you can talk to your child's doc about any concerns or questions you have about unexplained rashes.

How Can I Treat Heat Rash?

Would you be surprised if I told you the quickest way to see a heat rash disappear is to let your little cool off? Of course not, mama, because you're amazing and you've got this mama thing down! But just in case there are any mamas like me out there, who immediately ran to the local drug store and purchased a bunch of rash creams and antihistamine for kids, then here's a few things that you can do to help your little if they do end up with a heat rash!

  • If you know you're going to be outside for any extended period of time, and you see that your child is starting to get redder-than-normal (for them) cheeks, then make sure you've got a shady place set up where they can get out of the sun and the heat to cool off and chill for a few minutes. Take breaks throughout the day and make sure that they're not going at 100% for too long.
  • Water, water, water, water. Hydrating is so absolutely important no matter where you are or what you're doing, but make sure that your little always has access and has something to drink, and if you're like me, then force them to sit still for a few minutes and drink, drink, drink.
  • If you're noticing that your littles are waking up with little bumps on their cheeks (or sometimes neck and arms), then you might want to consider dressing them in something lighter or more breathable at night, or switching up their blankets for something with a little less weight.
  • In our house, the first thing I do once we get in from outside is have my kids wash their hands and faces in cold water, and sit down with a drink-- helping their hands and face get cold cuts down on the chances that they'll get those little bumps to form later on in the day/night.
  • If you're not sure what the weather is going to be like throughout the day, and know you're not going to have a chance to do a wardrobe change, then make sure and dress your little in light layers that will be easy for them to shed when it starts to warm up.
  • If you find that your little has a rash and is uncomfortable, you can use a cold washcloth to wipe her arms and face, or you could even put her in a lukewarm bath to clean them off.
  • There's no need to use lotions or creams to take care of the rash, because you want to make sure that their skin is able to get all of the excess oils out, and sometimes lotions can hurt more than they help.
  • MAKE SURE AND CALL YOUR DOC if, after cooling down your child, he/she has a fever, chills, the skin remains red or is swollen, or you notice your child is acting sick.

When the sun's out and our littles want to spend all day outside playing, it can be tough to know when they're getting too hot. Thankfully, heat rash isn't serious, but it's an important reminder that we need to be taking steps to help our littles cool down and slow down during playtime to make sure they're staying safe! Here's to a fun summer, and fingers crossed for no heat rash, mamas!

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