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15 tips to ease Sweat rash or Prickly heat I Dermatologist Guide

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15 tips to ease Sweat rash or Prickly heat I Dermatologist Guide

“My son gets rashes which feel like the pricking of needles every year when the weather gets hot and humid. Is this a heat rash? What causes heat rash? How to prevent it? How to treat it?”

Yes! This is a typical presentation of sweat rash, heat rash, or prickly heat dermatologically termed Miliaria Rubra. This article highlights will address symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment of heat rash or Prickly heat.

What is prickly heat?

Prickly heat, sweat rash or heat rash is a rash that commonly occurs due to excessive sweating in hot weather coupled with the inefficient evaporation of sweat from the surface of the skin. The rash can occur at any age but is more prevalent in newborns or children.

What causes heat rash?

Heat rash is caused by excessive sweating along with inefficient evaporation of sweat. This is the reason heat rash is common in hot and humid weather. The whole process gets exacerbated due to the following factors:

  • Wearing tight-fitting synthetic cloth that does not allow evaporation of sweat.
  • Obese individuals develop prickly heat in body folds due to a lack of air circulation.
  • Bedridden or sick persons might get prickly heat in areas that remain in contact with the bed.
  • Children and newborns are more susceptible to prickly heat because their sweat ducts are narrower and get blocked easily.
  • Sometimes, sweat rash occurs because sweat ducts get blocked by bacteria that live harmlessly on the body.

How does heat rash present?

Heat rashes start after a few days of repeat exposure to hot and humid weather. It is commonly seen on the body folds like the neck, armpits, and folds of the elbow, groin, and knees. However, it can occur anywhere on the body if you wear tight-fitting clothes. The skin gets red and swollen, studded with small red bumps. It is usually intensely itchy and has a prickly feeling.

15 tips to ease Prickly Heat

  1. Avoiding hot and humid weather.
  2. Stay in an air-conditioned room, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  3. Take baths with cold water if you feel sweaty and itchy.
  4. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes that allow sufficient air circulation to facilitate the evaporation of sweat.
  5. In the case of a newborn, do not overdress the little one or do not bundle them up too tight.
  6. The posture of sick persons should frequently be changed to avoid rash and pressure sores.
  7. Obese people should pull the skin apart at folds and let it air dry.
  8. Apply calamine lotion to soothe irritated skin.
  9. Cool compresses with a cloth dipped in cold water might help.
  10. Take frequent showers with cold water with a fragrance-free mild liquid cleanser.
  11. Avoid toweling. Instead, let your skin air dry.
  12. Do not apply creams or ointments as they may further block the pores and worsen the rash.
  13. Remain hydrated by drinking at least 2-3 liters of water daily.
  14. OTC steroid creams can be applied if the rash is not responding to the above.
  15. Avoid strenuous work in hot weather, especially if prickly heat involves a large part of your body. You might be more prone to heat stroke, and experience decreased capacity to work because of the inability of your body to lose heat efficiently after the episode of heat rash.

When should I visit a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist visit is needed:

  • if the above measures do not help reduce the heat rash.
  • If you notice pustules on the rash, you might need an antibiotic prescription.
  • if you have a fever. This can occur either because of infection or overheating the body.


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