All About Prickly Heat And When To See A Pediatrician

Posted on: 10 June 2021

During the summer, your child may experience bouts of a condition known as prickly heat. This condition is common but usually not dangerous. However, you should keep an eye on rashes of any kind to ensure they do not worsen. Prickly heat rashes could be a sign of something more serious beginning to form. Continue reading to learn more about prickly heat and when you should see a pediatrician.

What Is Prickly Heat?

Prickly heat is also known as a heat rash. It is usually mild and causes some redness and swelling. However, it can cause more serious symptoms such as fever. Most people find this rash itchy and describe the feeling as "prickly" hence the name. The rash generally goes away on its own without treatment.

Why Does Prickly Heat Happen?

Children have smaller and less-developed sweat glands that can easily get blocked on a hot day. The sweat glands then become inflamed, and a rash develops. Children who are overdressed or extremely active during hot temperatures are more susceptible to heat rash.

Where Does Prickly Heat Show Up?

Prickly heat rash in children tends to show up where the child sweats the most but can show up in other places. Commonly affected places include the armpits, buttocks, around the groin, and on the neck. The rash is also common anywhere where there are fat rolls. Prickly heat will also aggravate areas afflicted with eczema. Fortunately, it is not contagious.

How Is Prickly Heat Treated and Prevented?

Prickly heat can be prevented, and measures can be taken to reduce the risk. Make sure your child wears the right clothes for the season. Try to reduce excessive sweating as much as possible by providing an air conditioner or fan for cooling. A cool bath or shower may help. Ensure your child stays hydrated.

When Should One See a Pediatrician for Prickly Heat?

Though it is uncomfortable, prickly heat does not usually need medical attention. However, if your child experiences any of the following, see your pediatrician as soon as possible.

  • Your child has a fever or chills.
  • The rash doesn't improve after a few days or after making changes to keep your child cool.
  • Your child shows other signs of illness like a sore throat.
  • The rash oozes or has a bad smell.
  • Your child has frequent rashes.

You can usually treat prickly heat at home, but see a pediatrician if this is your first case, especially with very young children. Some more serious rashes start small and get worse over time. While prickly heat can happen in both children and adults, the incidences will likely decrease as your child gets older.