Prickly heat is characterized by the appearance of rashes on the face and other parts of the baby’s skin.
(Name used in Spain) prickly heat or miliaria (term used most frequently in Latin America) is a rash or skin rash which affects infants and young children and that tends to occur most often in summer.
It is caused by obstruction of the sweat glands, giving rise to the appearance of small blisters or granite (of smaller than a pin head) of content and rust colored clear. The eruption is usually locate in areas where children sweat more (forehead, temples, neck and skin folds), but it can be located anywhere on the body.
As with other types of rash, for first-time parents can be somewhat alarming. However, the prickly heat is never accompanied by fever and disappears even without applying any special treatment.
It usually takes little time (about 2-3 days), and disappears without leaving any marks on the skin. It is not an infection, but a response of the skin to heat, and therefore is not contagious, so a child with prickly heat can be near other small without any problem.
As the child grows, the progressive maturity of the glands that are located in the skin will make this disorder less frequent, for which mainly affects babies and children under two years, being rare in older children.
High temperatures and humidity tend to accompany the emergence of prickly heat.
Cause it of prickly heat is the obstruction of the sweat glands. Moisture and heat make these to produce sweat, in order to maintain a constant body temperature despite outside temperatures.
In children, due to the immaturity of their organs and tissues, the production of sweat is not as well defined as in adults. In addition, excess heat favors the proliferation of some bacteria (staph) that produce substances that inflamed and plug the duct of the sweat glands, thus preventing the departure of the sweat.
As a result, inflammation of glands will result in the outer appearance of rash, with multiple red Granites in the areas of increased sweating. In reality, they are small areas whose content is retained or cystic sweat.
It is very frequent that, before any skin rash, parents apply moisturizers or talcum powder in order to soothe the irritation. However, in the prickly heat this is not indicated, since these products can further clog the pores, prolonging the problem.
The process is usually resolved within a few days, although it is frequent that reproduce several outbreaks throughout the summer in relation to sudden changes in temperature or humidity. In any case, is a benign skin disorder that has no harmful consequences for the child.
Prickly heat is identified with small pimples in areas where the infant sweats more.
The main symptom of prickly heat is a characteristic, easily recognizable rash in children and babies: it’s small pimples grouped in areas where it is usually sweat more (neck, folds of skin, face, and chest) and appearing in summer or times of high heat or humidity. They are not accompanied by fever or impairment of the general condition of the child. At best, this may prove rather restless or nervous, if you feel itching.
There are two forms of prickly heat: heat rash Crystal, affecting the more superficial layers of the skin, and is characterized by small blisters of whitish, and the miliaria rubra, that involvement is deeper. In this case, the lesions are more reddish and seem more swollen.
Differential diagnosis of prickly heat
Sometimes the appearance of prickly heat can be confused with other typical conditions of children, such as impetigo and the molluscum contagiosum skin. Both are contagious, unlike the prickly heat, which is itself not an infection.
Impetigo is a skin infection which blisters and vesicles appear that when they break leave a honey-colored crust. Injuries last longer (5-7 days), appear not only in areas where sweat more, but in any part of the body, and can leave a mark on the skin once disappear. Prickly heat, however, is short, do not appear scabs or leave scar.
The molluscum contagiosum is another type of virus infection resulting in whitish papules that may appear different body sites, and can last even months. Unlike those caused by prickly heat, injuries do not heal spontaneously, but they need a specific treatment. It usually appears in children older than one year and is rare in babies.
The pediatrician will distinguish quickly, simply with the observation of the injury and without any examination, whether or not a prickly heat.
Keep the skin of the it pequeó clean and dry is essential to prevent heat rash.
In general the prickly heat or miliaria does not require treatment, since it is a benign condition that disappears within a few days in most cases. Keep your children’s skin clean and dry, avoiding the application of creams very unguents or talcum powder which block the pores, more is the best solution. Wet cloths baking soda and warm water can also be applied.
When the child shows is very annoying, and provided that it is prescribed by a doctor, may be given an oral antihistamine to soothe the itching. If the small scratches the lesions, the microorganisms under fingernails can sobreinfectar skin; in these cases, the application of an antibiotic ointment, always under medical prescription may be useful.
Similarly, if the skin is very inflamed (miliaria rubra) pediatrician will indicate a cream with corticosteroid of low power, for their anti-inflammatory effect.
Tips to relieve the heat in infants
As happens so often, the best treatment of prickly heat is prevention. Below, we describe some tips to help manage the heat and humidity typical of these dates when you have a baby at home and that it affects them as little as possible, in order to avoid the appearance of heat rash:
- Not harbor too much to children: too often we see in kids summer with body, Pajama and blanket up to above. This is not necessary and does not promote self-regulation of their body temperature. The babies need only one layer of clothing that we adults.
- Use breathable, cotton clothing. At all costs avoid polyester and synthetic fabrics.
- Avoid excess moisturizers very doughy and especially the talcum powder, that further clog the sweat glands.
- Change the baby’s diaper frequently (check it every two hours), avoiding the folds of skin are wet.
- In bath, use warm water and with neutral pH gels, and even if they have very irritated skin, do not use any type of SOAP, only warm water.
- Inside the home must try to maintain a neutral temperature above 20 degrees, using air conditioning or fans that help eliminate excess humidity.