Heat rash

Our calendar is divided into different seasons. Sometimes the weather is so cold and some time it’s really hot. Winter snows are lovely and beautiful, but it restricts and hinders our everyday activity.

Sumer time is the most enjoyable time in the year. People go on vacations, spend time on shores of beaches, and eat outside, freak out and enjoy as much possible. But for some, summer time is the time of serious business, special projects, which require long time working under direct sunlight.

Working in hot sun may bring many health hazards that commonly affect the skin. One very common skin hazard that hardly anyone would have escaped is heat rashes. Heat rashes are also called as miliaria or prickly heat. Heat rashes are very common in babies, but it is also occurs commonly in adults.

The chance of getting heat rash is very common in hot humid weather, when a person sweats a lot. Too much of sweat gets trapped under the skin and blocks the sweat gland. The blocked pores do not clear out the sweat and result in rashes.

Rash formation is triggered by – sweating too much, having a high body temperature, overdressed or being in warm environment for a long time.

Babies wrapped closely in warm clothes and people who are not used to hot weather are more likely to get heat rashes. However, the exact reason why sweat glands block is unknown. Some predicted reasons are

  • Immature sweat duct in babies
  • Excess physical activity
  • Hot and humid climate
  • Thick fabrics
  • Few perspiration medicines
  • Heating the body too much by sleeping under an electric blanket and bundling in too many clothes
  • Excess creams and ointments can block the sweat glands
  • Fever and bedridden for a long time

Heat rashes are more likely to appear in the region where there are folds of skin and skin touches another skin.

Regions like neck, shoulder, upper chest, scalp (if wearing hat continuously), groin (region where the abdomen meets the thigh), in the folds of elbow, armpits, and under the breast are mostly affected with heat rashes.

Heat rashes exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Skin irritation
  • Stinging sensation
  • Red rashes
  • Small red blisters or bumps
  • Itching

The area affected may have little or no sweating.

In some people, it looks like skin colored lesions that appear like goose bumps. Lack of perspiration can result in:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse

In many, heat rashes go away on its own, but in case if it persists for more than 4 days or it seems to get worse day by day then it’s time to consult a physician.

Physician must be contacted if the rashes are too itchy, or are associated with pain and warmth in the affected region.

If heat rashes cause fever, swollen lymph node in the armpit, neck, and groin regions, and oozing of pus or fluid, then the doctor should be consulted.

Symptoms like dizziness, nausea, confusion, trouble breathing should be dealt seriously, as they might indicate severe heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The most effective treatment for heat rashes is to keep the skin cool and dry.

Do not spend much time in hot and dry environment, use air conditioner, or fan to maintain temperature and circulate air.

The person can also use cool compressors in the affected regions. Keeping the affected region dry is very important, after bath drying under fan helps dry the skin faster and avoid sweating.

Wearing clean, dry, loose, cotton clothes help to avoid skin rubbing and irritation.

If the person has fever, over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken.

Lotions may be prescribed only if the rashes are severe and irritation persists. Calamine lotion is prescribed for itchy skin; anhydrous lanolin helps to prevent the blockage of duct and stops new lesions. Tropical steroids are recommended in more severe cases.

Heat rashes can be prevented by following certain precautionary measures.

  • In summers, one should wear loose fitting, light weighted cotton clothes, and tight clothing should be avoided.
  • Staying cool in hot climates by switching on the air-conditioner or fan may also help.
  • Sleeping in cool ventilated room is another method to keep oneself cool.
  • Children should be allowed to play in cool shady place.
  • Drinking plenty of water will help avoid dehydration.