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Heat rash: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About heat rash

Heat rash also known by name of ‘prickly heat’ or ‘miliaria rubra’ is a common heat-related skin affliction characterised by appearance of tiny, red bumps on certain areas of the skin. It can be more commonly seen in children.

Heat rash: Incidence, age and sex

Heat rash is a common occurrence in children especially new-borns and infants. However, it may affect an individual of any age group. Individuals staying in places of hot and humid climate are more prone to such heat rash.

Signs and symptoms of heat rash: Diagnosis

Heat rash commonly affects covered areas of the skin and the skin folds like back, neck, arm pits, elbow crease and the groin. It is manifested as small, red coloured bumps on the skin surface which may progress to blistering lesions in occasional cases. These skin eruptions are itchy in nature and may cause intense discomfort to the affected individual. Some individuals may also complain of burning sensation over the afflicted area. A quick physical examination is usually sufficient to diagnose the condition.

Causes and prevention of heat rash

The occurrence of heat rash is due to hot environmental conditions, high fever or even excessive sweating. Wearing of synthetic clothing in hot and humid weather increases the chances of such heat rash. Heat rash is a common occurrence in new-borns which may occur as a result of over-bundling them.

Wearing of loose-fitting cotton clothing in hot and humid climate may help in preventing such heat rash. It is advisable to avoid using creams and ointments in children who are prone to such rashes. Keep the surrounding environment cool especially when infants are there and avoid over bundling of small infants.

Heat rash: Complications

Heat rash causes intense itching, thus leading to scratching by the affected individuals. Scratching of skin lesions may cause secondary bacterial infections which may be manifested by pus-forming lesions.

Heat rash: Treatment

Heat rash or miliaria rubra is a self-limiting condition which resolves on its own, in most cases. Calamine lotion or mild potency steroid cream may be used in individuals who present with persistent heat rash. Staying in a cool environment, wearing loose cotton clothing and keeping the skin dry may help prevent and manage such heat rashes in individuals who are prone to it.