Heat Rash

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Treatment and Prevention

Nothing puts a dampener on summer fun and frolic like a heat rash, a.k.a. prickly heat. While adults can develop heat rashes, the condition is most common among babies. Read on to find out more about treating a heat rash and preventing them from recurring.

Causes of Heat Rash

Heat rashes are caused when you spend a lot of time in the sun, especially on a hot and humid day. Prolonged exposure to hot and humid weather causes the body to overheat, which causes excessive sweating. This leads to clogged sweat ducts that swell up, forming small red dots on the skin; hence the ‘prickly’ feeling. Heat rashes are usually developed on skin surfaces covered by clothing. Among children, heat rashes are often a result of being dressed too warmly.

Symptoms of Heat Rash

A heat rash is characterized by tiny bumps that are often reddish or pinkish in colour. The skin on your back, chest, abdomen, groin, and armpits is the most prone to developing a heat rash, especially if tight-fitting clothing is worn. When clothing rubs against the rash, the skin gets even more irritated. This leads to significant discomfort, especially in infants. Heat rashes usually clear up on their own within about a week. Should the rash not go away by then or if it gets worse, it is time to see a doctor. You should also seek medical attention immediately if the rash leads to fever, chills, red streaks on the skin, skin discharge, or significant pain.

Cleansing Heat Rash

To cleanse a heat rash, wash the affected area with water and a mild natural soap. Rinse well and pat dry the skin – do not rub – and give it a few more minutes to air dry completely. You can use several home remedies, as well as over-the-counter ointments for treating heat rashes.

Home Remedies for Heat Rash

Mix about 3-4 tbsp baking soda in your bath water and soak in it for 20 minutes for relief. You can also use an ice compress for 10 minutes at a time and dust the affected area with baking soda to calm your skin.

Over-the-Counter Ointments for Heat Rash

Vitamin A and C creams, calamine lotion, body lotions containing dimethicone, and hydrocortisone (1%) creams can be used to treat a heat rash. You can also use antihistamines to relieve itchiness. If giving medication to children, make sure you check the dosage.

Heat rashes can be very uncomfortable but they do not usually need medical attention. Stay out of the sun, drink lots of water, shower with an anti-bacterial soap after any strenuous activity, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes, and use air conditioning whenever possible to prevent heat rashes.

And to ensure that you do not overdress your infant or toddler, place your hand on the child’s neck and the area between the shoulders. If the skin feels warm and clammy, take some of the clothes off.

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