Conditions

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat

Prickly heat, also called heat rash or, to give it its medical name miliaria, is an itchy, irritating skin condition that kids can get when they spend a long time in any hot or humid environment. It’s a result of the sweat ducts becoming blocked – because these aren’t fully developed in children. The sweat rises up towards the surface of the skin but instead of then cooling kids down, it gets trapped in the skin itself and causes a spotty red rash.

Prickly heat is extremely common, especially in babies and young children. It can show up anywhere on the body but you’re particularly likely to see it around folds of the skin: at joints and around the tummy or bottom, but also on the arms, legs and face.

Though it can be itchy and sore, prickly heat is not especially painful. If it looks as if it is beginning to flare up on your child, the first thing to do is cool them down. Make sure they are not wearing anything too tight, as this increases sweating, as can things like waterproof clothes. In a hot, humid environment, light cotton fabric is best.

Babies can benefit from a warm bath, and if you’re on holiday somewhere hot, let them sit or sleep in an air-conditioned room. The natural temptation is to try and soothe rashes with creams or moisturisers, but with prickly heat these can actually make it worse because they further block the surface of the skin and prevent it from breathing. Try calamine lotion, or just apply a cold compress to the area, but avoid using talcum powder, as this also clogs up the surface of the skin.

Prickly heat is not serious, it won’t cause any lasting damage, and it passes quickly once your child is out of hot, sweaty or humid environment. The key is to try and keep kids who suffer out of situations where it’s likely to flare up, and to let them wear clothes that let the skin breathe.

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Comments and Questions

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Hi Alex Thank you so much for your helpful reply. I had tried this calamine lotion and really it works good Thanks and regards Ram





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Hello Alex Thank you so much for your helpful reply. My baby doctor had suggested me same solution U told is Calamine Lotion. I tried it and found a good result. Thank you so much. Thanks and regards, Ram





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On holiday and my 5 year old son suffers from eczema. Last day and he has a prickly heat type rash appeared on his cheeks, ears mainly, but also on his body front and back. We keep him moisturized due to his condition and environment. Any ideas anyone? Its itchy but not sore.





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Hi My one year old baby boy has prickly heat on Neck, tummy, back. I applied coconut oil on his body. What should i do? Thanks





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Calamine lotion is good, as long as it's no where near his eyes, also make sure he gets enough protein. I'm a doctor my son also had prickly heat as a baby until he was five or so. You should be able to buy calamine lotion in any pharmacy

Hi my sister has a heat rash all up her arm and on her feat apparently it really hurts and it is itchy she hasn't had it before it just started.





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Well I am guessing it is more likely to be excsma. The best thing to do is to put e45 on it with another layer of dermotol.If all else fails Put some lancane on it or under some cold water to unclog it.

Hi i am 32 and suffered with similar sun rash but more like hives, they are prickly and make me scrach, so uncormfortable and cannot go in the sun with this, as it makes the itching worse, i get the hive rash 1st time i go in the sun so it ruins the rest of the summer for me, i think i inherited this from my dad because he also suffers with this in the summer, is there anything that can help?





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I'm 20,it jst started last four months ago once it comes,i'll and meet a kaemist near by,once he give me some drugs.,it will gone after 2day,but now been december the rash started again then i went to him he now those drugs he normally gives to me but it gettin worsen,and now applyin prickly heat powder not seein any difference,pls can anybody give me a solution





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my little boy has heat rash comes up diffrent all the time the school seem to think that the kids that have it get sent home with theschool saying its slap cheek all the time wean i went to se the docter he never heard of it





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Hi, iv started getting prickly heat for about 2-3 years now and iv never found how to get rid of it, iv tried everything calamine lotion, E45, talcum powder, antihistamine tablets, cold showers, natural yoghurt, cooling spray. But nothing seems to work iv been told to go on the sun beds but I'm not 18, I'm just wondering if anybody can help me because it spoils my holiday? Thank you





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Hi Keira, I swear by Sulphur tablets and Urtica Urens - both homeopathic but work wonders... give them a try x

Thank you Steph I will try them :) x

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Hi hope you can help. My 10 year old has small pink spots under her knees and they seem to be spreading around her ears and bottom. I havent a clue what this is but i'm just checking if it is serious. Thanks.





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Prickly heat (also known as heat rash or miliaria) is an itchy, red rash that often causes a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin. Read More »