Prickly Heat Rash

I do not intend to put a lot of medical stuff in this blog because I want it to stay authentic and reliable, not off-the-cuff and faddish.  But every now and then when some health issue comes up between my friends and I (we all have little children), I might post it here.

 A couple people have asked me about rashes.  I don’t pretend to be a doctor.  If your child has a rash, and you don’t know what it is, take him or her to the pediatrician ASAP.  They will “quarantine” you in a private room (sometimes in the way back!) until a doctor identifies what it is.  Rashes sometimes indicate a highly contagious disease (i.e. chicken pox, measles).  If you’re panicked, there are some good websites that have pictures of various rashes and what they mean.  For non-urgent things like eczema or hives, these are great.  Sometimes rashes that indicate diseases have very distinctive marks and these help too.

I am writing this post about “Prickly Heat” or heat rash because it is so common, scares the life out of you, and means nothing.  All my babies have had it, and usually I forget what it is and get scared, take my child to the doctor, and remember.  The fourth time around, I only cancelled a playdate before I remembered… so I’m learning.

Prickly Heat is basically a term for a totally benign rash that goes away on its own.  It can be a sign of tight clothes, clothes that are too hot, clothes that are mildly dirty, diaper irritant, or any other kind of heat or mild irritant next to the skin for too long.  It looks like small pink pricks close together and all over the skin, usually starting around the waist area and extending up the trunk or down the thighs.  Sometimes it can be on the arms and chest.  It usually does not appear on hands, feet, private parts, or face.  It does not itch, burn, or hurt.  But it can spread a little.  You might think it looks like measles, except there is no fever or malaise usually associated with an infectious disease like that.  If your child is bouncing around happy as a lark, but you go to change the diaper and find all these pink goose-pimply marks on their stomach and legs, it is probably Prickly Heat. 

I’m not saying to forget checking it out with your doctor, I’m just warning you!  Change your child’s clothes or take them off for awhile, and run a warm wet rag with mild soap over the areas to clean them.  (Don’t scrub).  You’ll see more bumps and they’ll look a little redder after you do this, but they will vanish on their own probably by the next mealtime. 

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