Heat rash is a common skin condition during a hot and humid weather. It is indeed more common in infants, but it can also occur in adults. Heat rash may also be called prickly heat or miliaria. This type of rash develops when one person perspire more than normal then the sweat is trapped under the skin because of the blocked pores or sweat ducts. When the sweat is trapped under the skin, it causes a mild inflammation and the rash. Generally, heat rash in both adults and children or infants is usually characterized by the appearance of small red bumps or blisters that can either be itchy or give that prickly or stinging sensation.
Adults, infants and children can get heat rash during a hot and humid weather. Adult heat rash commonly develops in the folds of the skin or in areas where clothes cause friction to. It is still undefined as to why exactly other people get heat rash and others do not. However, there are a few reasons considered why sweat ducts are blocked; first is the use of tight clothes and certain fabrics that does not allow the evaporation of sweat. The use of cosmetic products may also contribute to the blockage because some products like creams or lotions can clog the sweat ducts. Very minimal air circulation in skin areas like on the creases of the skin, the neck or armpits also prevents the evaporation of sweat. Infants tend to get heat rash due to their sweat ducts being not fully developed which can cause easy rupture hence trapping sweat under the skin. Again, hot and humid weather can play a major role in heat rash. This rash does not only occur during this type of weather, but can actually occur during winter too; overheating in general during the cold season or during any situation can lead to heat rash too. Activities that cause one to perspire excessively also contribute to its development, most especially adult heat rash. Some medications that enhance the function of sweat glands may also play a role in the development of heat rash. These medications include beta-blockers and opiates for instance.
Treatment of Heat Rash
Most of the time, heat rash clears up on its own after a few days when the affected skin area is kept dry and cool. Reducing sweating is considered the best treatment for heat rash. Allowing the body to cool in an air-conditioned room or with a fan, or by taking a shower can help. Let the skin dry, use clothing made of lightweight and breathable fabric and avoid the use of oil-based products which can block the sweat ducts.
In some cases, medications may be needed to treat heat rash. Home remedies, over-the-counter and prescription medications may be used and prescribed by the physician to help with the symptoms or complications of adult heat rash. Calamine lotion may be used to help with the itchiness. Anhydrous lanolin may help prevent new lesions from developing and prevent the sweat ducts from being blocked. For severe cases, topical steroids may help with the itchiness and irritation. For cases where the rash and the sweat glands become infected, the physician may prescribe the use of antibiotics.
Infants’ and children’s skin are more sensitive than adults therefore consulting a health care provider is advised before applying anything on a baby or child’s skin.
Prevention of Heat Rash
Preventing adult heat rash from occurring is quite easy. Looking at what basically causes heat rash, avoiding situations that may lead to excessive sweating and avoiding places that are hot and humid can help prevent the development of this rash. For instance, one should avoid strenuous exercise during a warm weather. Wearing lightweight, breathable, loose and soft cotton clothing is also a way to prevent heat rash. Avoid wearing too much clothes during the winter season; only wear the right amount of pieces to get comfortable warmth from it. Keep your body cool during a hot weather and stay in cool shady areas or air-conditioned areas. One can also bathe in cool water without any irritant products such as fragrances. Using creams and ointments must also be avoided as these products can block sweat ducts, leading to adult heat rash. Make drinking plenty of fluids a habit so the body can be cooled off and remain hydrated.