Question: My 2-week-old baby is breaking out in heat rash with pus. I usually dress him in a cotton tee/romper, diaper and muslin cloth swaddle. But he still perspires a lot even in an air-conditioned room with fan. Should I just stop swaddling him?

baby heat rash

Answer: The description of new rashes with “pus” in a 2 week old baby is suggestive of erythema toxicum. These are common rashes in newborns, which are “angry” looking but are actually benign and not indicative of infections.

Whilst the actual cause is not known, expectant treatment is advised as the rashes usually resolve in the first 2 months spontaneously. Should the rash be persistent, consult your doctors. It is observed that swaddling infants make them sleep better and reduce startle responses. However, if you assess that your baby does not like it, or cause overheating and sweating, you can stop it.

Dr Liew Woei Kang, Paediatrician, Sub-specialty in Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology, SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, Asthma, Lung, Sleep & Allergy Centre

(Note: Dr Liew Woei Kang is no longer with SBCC Baby & Child Clinic)

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