Newborns are swaddled constantly to provide them with a simulated feeling that they are still enclosed in their mummy’s womb. Newborns also have limited ability to regulate their temperature, and have sweat glands only on their head, neck, hands and feet.
In a hot and humid country like Singapore, it is common for babies to develop some heat rash on their neck. Heat rash, sometimes known as prickly heat, develops when the sweat glands are clogged, preventing perspiration from getting out. It affects people of all ages but most common in children and babies because their pores are smaller compared to adults.
Areas around the neck, armpits and back of knees and elbows are most likely to be affected. Diaper area is also susceptible to heat rash due to the lack of ventilation. It can be itchy and the bumps can be sensitive to touch, but it will heal on its own. As parents, we can help to relieve the itching and discomfort by moving our child into a cooler environment. Moving to an air-conditioned place is effective and helps because it cools down the overheated body and the air is less humid, thus less perspiration. When the body has cooled, try a soothing lotion to provide relief for your child. It is not advisable to simple apply any lotion without first cooling the body as the lotion will cause the pores to clog up further more as the body tries to perspire more to counter the heat.
An alternative such as cornstarch powder or a mineral powder may also help absorb excess moisture and prevent further aggravation to the already sore skin.