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Prickly heat – expert shares four signs you have heat rash and how to treat it

Summer is one of the most beloved seasons but it can also pose a struggle for prickly heat sufferers.

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat or miliaria, describes a skin condition triggered by blocked sweat ducts, which prevents sweat from being released onto the skin’s surface.

“When sweat gets trapped beneath the skin, it can cause inflammation, itching, and the appearance of small red bumps or blisters,” Dr Sameer Nakedar, Chief Medical Officer at Welzo said.

Unfortunately, this type of rash occurs more frequently in hot, humid environments where people sweat excessively.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to manage the annoying condition and still enjoy summertime, according to the doctor.

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What are the signs of prickly heat?

Due to the nature of the rash, prickly heat often crops up on areas of the skin, where sweat is more likely to be trapped.

According to the doctor, these four warning signs can ring alarm bells:

  1. Small red bumps or blisters: Heat rash often presents as clusters of tiny red bumps or fluid-filled blisters on the skin’s surface.
  2. Itching: The affected areas can be quite itchy, causing discomfort and a prickly or stinging sensation.
  3. Redness and inflammation: The skin surrounding the rash may appear red and slightly swollen due to inflammation.
  4. Mild to moderate pain: Some individuals may experience mild to moderate pain or tenderness in the affected area.

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When it comes to the areas you should watch out for, heat rash usually develops in skin folds and areas where clothing creates friction.

Therefore, the doctor recommended checking your neck, armpits, chest, back, groin and thighs.

“The symptoms may worsen if the skin is exposed to further heat, humidity, or friction,” Dr Nakedar added.

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How to manage heat rash

From home remedies to medication, various interventions could help alleviate the painful symptoms that come with prickly heat.

The doctor recommended the following medications, remedies and changes to tackle the rash:

  • Stay cool: Spend time in air-conditioned or well-ventilated environments to help reduce sweating and keep your skin cool.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing: Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made of natural fabrics, like cotton or linen, that allow air to circulate and wick away moisture.
  • Shower frequently: Bathe or shower regularly, especially after sweating, using cool water and a gentle soap to remove sweat and debris from the skin. Make sure to pat the skin dry rather than rubbing it to avoid further irritation.
  • Avoid heavy creams or ointments: Use light, water-based moisturisers or lotions instead of heavy creams or ointments that may clog sweat ducts.
  • Apply cool compresses: Use a cool, damp cloth or ice pack wrapped in a towel to soothe the affected area and reduce inflammation.
  • Over-the-counter remedies: Consider using over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to help reduce itching and inflammation. Apply as directed and follow the instructions on the product packaging.
  • Aloe vera gel: A natural remedy for soothing the skin, aloe vera gel can be applied topically to the affected area to help alleviate itching and redness.
  • Oatmeal bath: An oatmeal bath can help soothe irritated skin. Add colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oatmeal) to a cool or lukewarm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes to help relieve itching and inflammation.
  • Antihistamines: Over-the-counter oral antihistamines, like diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can help relieve itching in some cases. However, use caution, as these medications can cause drowsiness.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help regulate body temperature and maintain overall health, which may contribute to reduced heat rash symptoms.

If your heat rash symptoms persist or worsen, the expert recommended consulting a healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

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