Prickly heat or heat rash affects children and adults once sweat is trapped beneath the skin. Children are typically affected than adults due to their developing sweat glands.
The rash can be itchy and uncomfortable. In most cases, prickly heat does not require treatment by a doctor. Luckily, there are treatment and preventive measures for those who frequently end up with the rash.
What are the indications?
Prickly heat is characterized by itchiness and reddened bumps in any area where sweat is trapped beneath the skin. The neck, chest and shoulders are the usual sites for prickly heat to form.
The skin folds and body parts where clothing rubs against the skin are the usual sites. The irritated site might show a reaction immediately or it might take a few days to develop.
Oftentimes, prickly heat takes on the form of a patch of miniature blisters. This is simply the reaction of the skin to sweat that seeped in between its layers. In some cases, the site where sweat is trapped might appear swollen or itch continuously.
Warm weather along with humidity is the usual trigger for prickly heat. It is important to note that the body produces sweat to cool down the skin.
If sweating becomes profuse, the glands are overwhelmed. The sweat ducts are clogged which trap the sweat under the skin or the sweat might leak through the skin layers close to the uppermost layer and ends up trapped.
Management of prickly heat
Some of the commonly used remedies for prickly heat include:
- Topical steroids
- Calamine lotion
- Anhydrous lanolin
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Avoid skin products that include mineral oil or petroleum
The initial step in managing prickly heat is to avoid the irritant responsible for making the skin break out into a sweat. Any wet or sweaty clothes should be removed after staying under intense heat. Once in a cool area, the itchiness under the skin might take some time to settle.
Calamine lotion is a natural remedy that can be applied on the affected site to cool the skin. Hydrocortisone cream can be used in a low dosage to lessen the itchiness.