Heat rashes are a kind of inflammatory skin condition that is caused by an obstruction of the ducts of sweat glands. This results in the exposure of the skin to temperature level. As a result, the humidity will cause the eruption of small red papules that are accompanied by an itching or prickling sensation. Heat rash is also known as prickly heat or miliaria. Heat rash also develops when your perspiration is trapped under your skin. Its symptoms may range from superficial blister or rashes to red lumps.
Heat rash is most common among infants, though adults can develop it too. It is usually found in the folds of the skin or wherever clothing causes friction on the skin surface. It is most common in the neck, shoulders and chest but may also develop in the armpits, elbow creases and groin. Heat rash usually resolves on its own, but the severe ones may need medical attention and treatment. The best ways to prevent and to relieve symptoms are to prevent heat and perspiration.
Types of heat rash
- Miliaria crystallina is the mildest form of heat rash. It is characterized by clear, fluid-filled blisters and bumps that break easily. It usually resolves on its own, but may cause breakouts if exposed to heat and humidity. Wear protective gloves when touching the break outs.
- Miliaria rubra is characterized by red bumps with the itchy or prickly feeling on the affected area.
- Miliaria profunda is characterized by firm, flesh-colored lesions that resemble goose bumps. Lack of perspiration on the affected area may occur which could lead to heat exhaustion.
Management of heat rash
The most important first aid that you can give to a heat rash is to avoid the source of heat exposure. You need to cool off the affected area by uncovering it to expose to air, avoid the sun rays and rinse the area with a cool water.
How to treat symptoms
- Have frequent cools baths or showers. Dry the body thoroughly and apply bland types of powder such as talcum powder on body creases and other affected areas. You may also use antiperspirant.
- Stay in cool, air-condition environment or well ventilated rooms. You may use a fan if necessary.
- Use calamine lotion or prickly rash lotions to get relief from the discomfort on the affected areas. Avoid using ointments or creams as they keep the skin warm and moist.
- Avoid scratching the affected area as this may cause infection.
Lifestyle changes to prevent heat rashes
- Dress in light, loose-fitting soft clothes. It is best to choose cotton clothing as it absorbs moisture.
- Avoid clothing that traps heat and moisture.
- Make sure to get enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
Prevention of heat rashes is still better than treating them. Management of heat rash may be done at home, but you may need to call your health care provider if the rash is still visible in 3-4 days, causes serious itching and oozes with pus or swells.
Mayo Clinic. Disease and Condition – Heat Rash. Retrieved on June 17,2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-rash/basics/definition/con-20033908