Heat Rash - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Heat rash, or prickly heat or miliaria, is a mild skin condition that produces an itchy, burning sensation generally caused by obstruction of the ducts of the sweat glands, resulting from excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. This results in tiny bumps surrounded by pink or red area on the skin. It usually occurs on clothed parts of the body, such as the back, abdomen, neck, upper chest, groin or armpits. As the bumps burst and sweat is released, you may feel the prickly or stinging sensation.
It can occur at any age, but is most common in young children and in overweight people who have overlapping folds of fat. The condition isn't usually painful but it can be annoyingly itchy, and some of the pimples may be tender to the touch. The heat rash goes away on its own within a few days but severity of the disease may lead to fever, heat exhaustion and even death.
The possible symptoms of heat rash are as:-
- The rash looks like tiny, pinhead-sized red pimples on the areas where sweat collects such as armpits,back, chest and other clothed parts.
- There may be clusters of red bumps present on the affected areas.
- Skin itching.
- You may have the feeling of prickly, stinging or burning sensation.
- There will be mild swelling on the affected area.
The important causes of heat rashes are as:-
- Heat rash is usually caused by overheating of the skin. The skin overheats when the pores are clogged as a result of excessive sweating. This blocks sweat glands.
- Lots of children get it during hot, humid weather, when sweat glands are overworked.
- Infants can also get it in the winter time with fever or ointments applied to the chest for coughs.
- Older children can get it with exercise.
- Wearing tight clothing or overdressing, even in cold weather, may compound the problem.
- Tropical areas is also a major risk factor for the occurrence of the disease.
The effectoive treatments for heat rash include:
- The affected person should stay in a cool,air-conditioned or well-ventilated environment.
- Frequent cool showers and a thorough drying are effrective for the treatment of heat rashes.
- Wear light,loose fitting soft clothes. Avoid clothing that traps heat and moisture . Natural fabrics such as cotton are best.
- Calamine lotion or prickly rash lotions can be used to soothe the affected areas, but avoid ointments or creams as they keep the skin warm and moist and may make the condition worse.
- Cloth diapers are recommended than are disposable diapers because they are more likely to allow the natural evaporation process to occur.
- Topical corticosteroids can be tried.
- Hydrocortisone cream is also a treatment for heat rash.