The scientific term for baby heat rash is Miliaria Rubra, but it also goes by the more common name of prickly heat. You can find both of these names in field literature. However, no matter what you call it, baby heat rash is a rather serious condition, painful for your little one, which you must take very seriously and treat as soon as you notice it. This is why it’s so important to know all the remedies for it and especially the natural ones. It’s best not to expose such small children to pills straight away, so we have compiled for you a list of the best home remedies for baby heat rash in existence today.
What causes baby heat rash?
There are a number of reasons that lead to this annoying condition which keeps small ones awake at night and causes them to cry all the time. The most common sources are the following.
- Changed environment – most parents notice said rash on their infants’ skin when they bring them home from the hospital. The reason is that their skin is extremely sensitive after they have just exited the protecting womb and any change in environment and atmosphere may lead to rashes.
- Fever – the fever itself is not what causes the rash, but rather what triggers it. Think about it as a game of domino. Fever is caused by infections, which are caused by a virus or a bacterium your child may have caught anywhere. Therefore, the line goes like this – virus or bacterium – high fever – pain – rash and redness. So, in this case, it’s important to treat the root of the problem, not the rash per se.
- Layering – small babies usually develop a rash if they have too many items of clothing on. If it’s hot outside, no matter how small the baby, there is no need to overdress him. Also, building on the idea of clothing on kids, you must pay strict attention to the fabrics the clothes are made of. Anything that is not natural fabric wise will lead to skin rashes, discomfort, and possible allergies.
- Changes in temperature – this is another factor relating to how very sensitive newborns are. When they are suddenly moved from a colder climate to a hotter one or vice versa, they may develop rashes. This is a valid theory for climates that are too humid or too dry as well.
- Food – even from the womb, babies can develop allergies and resist certain foods. It is possible that your child is allergic to milk, powdered milk or even maternal milk. In this case, consult his physician immediately and ask what you can feed him as a replacement.
How can you identify baby heat rash?
This ailment is fairly easy to spot, right from its inception. Whether it’s visible with the naked eye or your child lets you known by crying incessantly, you will find out about it. Therefore, you needn’t worry that it will go unnoticed. Also, you should be aware that it’s a rather common condition, half the newborns out there suffering from it. Here are a few signs that will let you know this is what’s troubling your bundle of joy.
- He or she will develop a few bright red spots in some key areas – the neck, armpits or at the edge of his diaper.
- He or she can also develop red patches, as if the skin was rubbed hard against something, especially in areas where his clothes fit tightly. You can also find the red spots under his cap or in folds of his skin.
- You might also notice the baby trying to scratch himself or rub himself on the bed covers because the rashes can itch.
- Another good sign is the crying. If your child seems to cry for no reason, even though he’s not wet and he’s been fed and burped, it’s time to undress him completely and look for signs of a rash.
The best home remedies for calming a baby heat rash
Typically, this type of rash vanishes on its own in a few days, which is why there is no reason to run to pills and medication. However, there are certain things you can do to aid it to disappear faster, calm down the baby and its discomfort, and prevent it from reappearing.
#1. Remove all excess clothes
As mentioned above, one of the primary causes of baby heat rash, as its name suggests is overheating. This is caused either by too many layers of clothes or by the diaper itself. If you see this happening, try to cool down the baby’s skin by removing both his clothes and his diapers for a little while. It will soothe him and help the rash disappear faster.
Here’s the science behind the link between too many clothes and rashes. Just like a grownup, a baby sweats when he feels too hot, so as to reduce his body’s temperature. However, given the fact that he has too many layers on, the sweat cannot dry out on its own at the surface of the skin as it normally should. Therefore, it blocks the pores. Since the baby’s both sweat glands and pores are not fully developed yet, they burst out in red patches which we identify as rashes.
#2. Remove all sources of heat and humidity
When your baby is suffering from a heat rash, one of the best things you can do is to keep him away from a source of extreme heat and humidity. Remember the purpose of the treatment is to cool down his skin. During the cold season, it’s best to keep the heat on low for a little while. During the hot seasons, put a fan his room, even at night, if the temperature is still high.
#3. Cool, wet washcloths are your best friend
One of the simplest and yet, best ways to calm down the baby when he has a heat rash is to simply wet a washcloth and apply it to the inflamed part of his skin. Apart from cloths, you can also treat the baby to a short, lukewarm bath that will have the same effect. However, you should note that the bath only soothes the infant for a short period, while the wet cloths can be reapplied as needed, especially if it’s hot outside.
Remember not to dry the baby with a towel, as this will only increase the skin irritation and cause more itchiness. It will also dry the skin. Rather than that, you can simply let him dry out in the fresh air.
#4. Using baking soda
Baking soda is basically Bicarbonate of soda, an alkaline chemical that breaks down acids and proteins. The commercial type you find in almost every store out there is used for many home remedies and beautifying treatments. It’s usually made into a cream by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with 4 ounces of water, and it’s used for the following ailments:
- To whiten teeth
- For cleaning and exfoliating the facial skin
- Treating acne
- Treating sunburnt skin
- Treating insect bites and bee stings
- Treating allergic reactions to poison ivy
Another ailment you can use baking soda for is baby heat rash, as it soothes the skin and gets rid of the red bumps. You can dip a washcloth in a solution of baking soda and water and gently wash the baby’s itchy areas. Other than washing you can use the washcloth as a compress, as much as three times a day if necessary. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then dry off the baby’s skin and use some anti-prickly heat powder on him. You may also bathe the baby completely in water to which 1 cup of baking soda has been added. This should be done twice a day until the rash disappears. However, if you go for the bathing solution, be careful with the baby’s eyes, ears, and any open wounds he might have.
One very simple and completely natural remedy for prickly heat is based on something you, probably, already have in the kitchen, oatmeal. This delicious grain which we generally use for cookies and bread has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and anti-irritating properties. These healing characteristics mean it will soothe your baby’s skin in no time, reduce the inflammation, and help with the itching. Here’s how to get the best out of it.
One cup of finely ground oatmeal should be added to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Make sure to stir it in very well, until all the water turns milky in color. In case you don’t have or cannot find any finely powdered oatmeal you can easily buy some rolled oats and put them in the food processor or blender for a few minutes. However, make sure they are completely natural and don’t have any additional substances, such as colorants or sugar.
Bathe the baby for about 20 minutes and pat him dry with a clean towel. You can do it every day, twice a day so that he feels the relief.
#6. Sandalwood powder
One sweet smelling treatment for baby heat rash comes in the shape of sandalwood powder. It will eliminate all the symptoms and cool down the body, which is truly essential when it comes to the recovery.
Mix 1 part sandalwood powder with 1 part rose water. Combine them until they turn into a paste, which you can then smear over the afflicted areas. Another recipe asks you to mix 2 tablespoons of sandalwood powder with 2 tablespoons of coriander powder and a bit of rose water. When they have formed a thick paste, use it over the baby’s rash area.
#7. Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth, which also goes by the name of Multani Mitti is a type of clay. It’s rich in magnesium, silica, quartz, calcite, and dolomite. Although not many people know it, fuller’s earth is actually a staple of the beauty industry, especially for herbal lines of hair and skin products. It’s incredibly safe to use, cheap and has no known side-effects. Its antiseptic and oil-absorbent properties make it perfect to use on your baby’s skin rash.
It also removes scars, improves the skin’s entire complexion and its elasticity, and treats acne and dandruff. You need to mix five tablespoons of this marvelous powder with around three tablespoons of rose water until you get a thick paste. Apply this paste to the afflicted area and allow it to dry on its own. You then need to wash it off with cold water. This treatment can be used every day once a day, for an entire week.
#8. Margosa leaves
You might know this plant by its other name, neem. It’s a type of Indian Lilac that belongs to the mahogany family. It’s a tropical, tall and beautiful tree, with white flowers of which you can find pictures online. Its leaves have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which makes Margosa the perfect natural home remedy for your baby’s heat rash problems.
You need to grind a handful of fresh Margosa leaves to a paste-like consistency. Smear the paste on the painful skin area and let it dry of its own accord. You can them gently rinse it off using cold water. Another recipe you can follow advises simmering a handful of leaves in approximately two cups of water. When they’re done, strain them and let the solution cool down. Dip a cloth in it and apply it over the rash. Leave it to rest for ten minutes. You can do this up to four or five times every day until the rash has cleared off.
A third recipe calls for 15 to 20 Margosa leaves to be crushed into a paste and then mixed with half a cup of gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, and a bit of water. In the same way, use this paste to cover the afflicted area, let it dry out and then rinse with cold water.
Summer time can turn into a veritable nightmare for newborns and their parents, all because of prickly heat or baby heat rash. The mild inflammation, the itchiness, prickling and stinging sensations, as well as the small, scarlet bumps that appear at skin level, are cause for quite a deal of suffering for the little one. However, there is no need to panic and run to the medicine cabinet. While a checkup with your pediatrician is advised, it’s always better to use natural home remedies for such a small child than pharmacy-made treatments.