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A common skin disorder characterized by a non-inflammatory, itchy rash caused by obstructed ducts of sweat glands, occurring specially in summer, most common in infants.

Signs & Symptons

Clusters of vesicles (small, fluid-filled skin blisters which may come and go within a matter of hours) or red rash without vesicles in areas of heavy perspiration.


Obstruction of sweat-gland ducts for unknown reasons.

Risk Increases With

  • Overweight child
  • Hot, humid weather.
  • Genetic factors, such as fair, sensitive skin.


Stay indoors during hot, humid weather.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor (severe cases only).

Possible Complications

Secondary skin infection.

Probable Outcomes

Usually curable with treatment. Recurrence is common.



General Measures

  • Give frequent cool showers.
  • Apply lubricating ointment or cream to skin 6 or 7 times a day.
  • Use cool-water soaks to relieve itching and hasten healing. Pat skin dry, and dust with cornstarch after and between soaks.
  • Wear cotton socks and leather-soled footwear rather than shoes made of man-made materials.
  • Expose the affected skin to air as much as possible.
  • Don’t use binding materials.
  • Change diapers on infants as soon as they are wet.
  • Avoid sunburn once child has had prickly heat. The body’s inflammatory reaction to sunburn may trigger a new outbreak of prickly heat.


Your doctor may suggest non-prescription cream to apply 2 or 3 times a day.

Contact your Doctor

Prickly heat doesn’t improve in 10 days, despite home care.