Small Differences: Prickly Heat

The youngest Pict peeled himself out of bed this morning and revealed himself to have cheeks covered in a red rash.  When one is busily trying to drag kids out of their beds, set the breakfast table and make packed lunches, having a rash to inspect is one of those things that makes one sigh.  I sighed.  I am not someone who panics over medical things anyway – just as well since I have four kids – but I admit that the rash presented itself as an annoyance rather than a source of worry.  Maybe that makes me an inept mum.  I studied the rash close up in different lighting conditions, checked his temperature and inspected him all over to determine the spread of the rash (confined to just his cheeks and the nape of his neck) and looked for any additional symptoms of which there were none.

When I was pregnant with my youngest son, his oldest brother contracted parvovirus, the kind which in Scotland we call Slap Cheek and which I believe in America is called Fifth Disease.  Along with all of the other pregnancy complications I was enduring, my exposure to parvovirus meant I had to be monitored for that reason too.  I am, therefore, familiar with how it presents.  The rash did not look red enough to be Slap Cheek but, then again, it was mainly on his cheeks.  That gave me pause.  My knowledge of stillbirth means that I am aware that children suffering from parvovirus need to be kept away from pregnant women.  It might, therefore, have been necessary to keep him in quarantine conditions under medical house arrest.  Some googling and facebooking with people who work in the medical field later, however, and I ruled out parvovirus and instead ruled in Prickly Heat.

I am Scottish.  Until seven months ago I had lived all of my life in the British Isles.  What was the chance I was going to have any experience of a heat-related condition?  Obviously some people in the UK are still sensitive enough to environmental temperatures that they get prickly heat or even heat stroke so I had heard of it but it would never be a common thing in that climate.  Chillblains are more the Scottish thing.  Last night was very humid and, despite sleeping under an open window, the littlest Pict does have a tendency to wrap himself up in his bedlinen like a sleeping burrito so it made sense he had just sweated and baked his way into a rash.

Still I was swithering (a great Scottish word) about whether he should attend his preschool summer camp but, a quick, reassuring conversation with his teacher later, he was all ready to go and heading out of the door.  He is spending the afternoon in our basement living room and playroom with the blinds down to keep him cool.  His cheeks looks less red already.

So that was a first experience for this Scottish mother: prickly heat.  It’s only going to get hotter and more humid this summer.  I wonder what other temperature related mishaps we will experience.

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