Rising temperatures in summer can lead to sweating and form a heat rash.
This happens when sweat glands do not let sweat reach the skin’s surface as they are blocked.
As a result, red bumps, blisters or lumps form that are itchy or prickly.
It is not rare for children and adults to get these rashes during summers when you excessively sweat.
You will find them in skin folds or wherever there is tight clothing that does not let air pass through.
However, they will mostly heal on their own unless it is a serious case. This article discusses how you can treat them and what causes these rashes.
Symptoms of Heat Rash
Babies can get this rash near their necks or chest. Whereas adults will get them in elbows, groin, armpits or in the folds of skin where there is tight clothing.
The rashes are tiny red bumps and that form due to inflammation in the epidermis.
A prickly and itchy sensation accompanies the rash which is like the sensation of a sunburn.
If your baby gets a rash, they cannot complain about it so they will cry and seem fussy.
Moreover, there are different types of heat rash also known as miliaria:
It only affects the sweat ducts in the epidermis hence, it is a mild condition and the most common form of heat rash.
The blisters and bumps contain fluid that drains and breaks on its own.
These are present in the deeper layers of skin and cause a prickly sensation. Hence, they are also called prickly heat.
Though sometimes the vesicles will inflame and form pus, known as miliaria pustulosa.
These rashes are like flesh-colored lesions. The sweat leaks from the sweat gland reaching the skin.
However, these are rare and only affect the dermis skin layer.
You should consult your doctor if the rashes do not heal on their own.
Keep a check on them and notice if they are getting worse.
If you feel an increase in warmth, swelling or pain in that area as well as redness, then it is not a good sign.
Furthermore, if the lesions drain, the lymph nodes in the armpits and neck swell, then visit your doctor.
Also, connect your fever and chills with the rashes since they may be getting worse.
Heat Rash Causes
Clogging and blockage of sweat ducts cause these rashes.
Hence, the sweat and perspiration that has to leave the sweat ducts are rather trapped inside.
Sweat ducts blockage is common in hot climates and humid weather.
Babies have this blockage because their sweat ducts are still developing. Hence, they may clog because of fever, staying in an incubator or wearing very warm clothes.
Furthermore, exercising and sweating a lot during physical activity can increase your chances of getting rashes.
Similarly, if you are overheated because of the climate or by being warm, then you will likely get rashes.
Moreover, it is also possible for people who are on bed rest to get these rashes over time because of less movement. And it is more likely to happen with fever too.
Who Is Most At Risk?
People living in hot humid weather conditions are at a greater risk of usually getting rashes.
Hence, people who live in comparatively temperate climates are less likely to get them.
Also, people who perform more physical and strenuous activities are likely to sweat more.
The tight clothing along with the constant sweating can easily develop rashes.
Furthermore, if you are obese then your chances of getting rashes are higher because of skin-to-skin contact.
Obesity form folds in the skin where it touches and if that area receives no air then it will hinder perspiration.
The sweat glands cannot breathe properly if you do not expose them to circulating air and stay put in one place.
Also, newborns are at the greatest risk because their sweat glands are still developing and they can clog.
Though, if you cool down the area then the rashes will heal on their own.
Complications are rare but sometimes inflammation and itchy pustules may form and you will require proper treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor can simply diagnose a heat rash by looking at it.
Furthermore, the location and appearance i.e. within the skin creases or areas where clothes fit tightly are enough to understand that this is a heat rash.
Firstly, your doctor will advise you to avoid the heat and cool down the area.
However, if the rashes do not heal on their own then you will require ointments and creams for heat rash treatment.
In extreme cases of infection in the sweat glands, you may experience pain, swelling and redness.
Moreover, pustules form at the infection site. This is because of bacteria invasion in the rashes. Hence, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for such infections and recurrent rashes.
The other treatments include:
- Hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion
- Topical steroids
- Anhydrous lanolin
Calamine lotion helps to soothe the prickly sensation and itching in the rash. Hydrocortisone sprays and creams serve a similar purpose.
If the rashes are severe then your doctor will recommend applying topical steroids.
Anhydrous lanolin prevents the blockage of sweat ducts hence even reduces the possibility of forming new rashes and lesions.
Though, as long as you cool down the rashes, they can go away on their own.
Use a fan or air conditioning and do not bundle up newborns in extremely warm clothing.
Move people who are on bed rest so that they receive air circulation in all parts of the body.
Air circulation from a fan or air conditioning will help cool down the rashes and lessen the itchiness and prickly sensation.
Heat Rash Prevention
Besides rashes, heat can lead to stroke and heart attack.
Hence, if you live in an area with a very humid and warm climate, then you should take regular measures to cool yourself.
Drink water and constantly receive air circulation from fans or air conditioning.
When your body receives air circulation, the chances of blockage in sweat ducts decrease.
Therefore, whenever it is too hot to bear, stay inside in a room with circulating air to sweat less.
Wherever you are sitting, keep it cool and the ventilation going.
Furthermore, do not exercise when it is very hot even if you are already in a routine.
Exercising during extreme heat can increase the chances of a heat stroke and also form rashes. Hence, lose that weight on some other day even if it is essential to do so to avoid skin-to-skin contact in obesity.
Avoid wearing extremely tight-fit clothes especially if your area’s weather is generally warm.
Instead, wear loose clothing made of breathable, soft and light fabrics such as cotton or lawn.
In winters you need to cover to stay warm but not overdo it, neither with babies.
It is essential to prevent babies from catching a cold and keeping them warm but cover them as much as they need.
Also, if you live in an area with a warmer climate then you should frequently bath or shower.
This prevents the sweat ducts from clogging and lets you perspire easily.
Hence, you will need to keep your skin completely clean especially after sweating to avoid these skin conditions.
You can use these preventive measures to stop the formation of the rashes but also treat the existing ones in the affected areas.
Furthermore, you can adopt similar lifestyle changes and home remedies to heal the existing rashes.
Home Remedies and Solutions
Cool compresses can soothe the prickly and itchy sensation in the rashes.
Over-the-counter calamine lotion can also help deter the itchiness and provide some relief.
These may help open the blockage in the sweat ducts while using ointments with petroleum and mineral oil can exacerbate the rashes.
Hence, do not go for petroleum jelly to heal them as it will rather block the pores further.
Keep yourself cool and stay indoors with fans and air conditioning. If you have had heat rashes before then it is best to not stay in the heat for long especially if your climate is usually hot.
Hence, try to stay in places with air conditioning while you have the rash and avoid being in hot places.
Similarly, also avoid strenuous exercise while having the rash.
Exercising and the release of sweat due to that can worsen the condition of your rash and you may form pustules.
Therefore, resist the urge to exercise and brisk walk.
Take a shower daily and use a nondrying soap. Do not take a warm bath while you have the rash, instead take a cold one.
Also, skip the towel and air dry your body instead.
When your rashes are still healing, wear light and losses clothes. Go for breathable and soft fabrics like cotton.
In fact, avoid wearing my tight clothes and let your skin breathe in loosely fitting clothes.
You can get rid of a heat rash easily if you let it cool down.
However, wait patiently and avoid worsening it by staying outdoors under the sun and wearing tight clothes.