Heat rash, which is also known as prickly heat and miliaria, is not just a condition which affects babies. It can affect adults too, especially during hot, humid weather such as what Britons are experiencing currently. How can a person know you may have a heat rash and the three ways to soothe the itching, prickly rash?
A heat rash develops when sweat ducts also known as blocked pores trap perspiration under the skin.
The symptoms of a heat rash range from blisters to deep, red lumps.
Some forms of heat rash feel prickly or extremely itchy.
A heat rash can clear up on its own, however severe forms of the condition may need medical care.
Types of heat rash
The types of miliaria are classified according to how deep the blocked sweat ducts are, explained the Mayo Clinic.
It continued: “Signs and symptoms for each type vary with the mildest form of heat rash (miliaria crystallina) affecting the sweat ducts in the top layer of skin.
“This form is marked by clear, fluid-filled blisters and bumps (papules) that break easily.
“A type that occurs deeper in the skin (miliaria rubra) is sometimes called prickly heat with signs and symptoms including red bumps and itching or prickling in the affected area.
“Occasionally, the fluid-containing sacs (vesicles) of miliaria rubra become inflamed and pus-filled (pustular) and this form is called miliaria pustulosa.
“A less common form of heat rash (miliaria profunda) affects the dermis, a deeper layer of skin.
“Retained sweat leaks out of the sweat gland into the skin, causing firm, flesh-coloured lesions that resemble goose bumps.”
The NHS described symptoms of a heat rash which include:
Small red spots
An itchy, prickly feeling
Redness and mild swelling
“The symptoms are often the same in adults and children,” stated the NHS.
“It can appear anywhere on the body and spread, but it’s not infectious to other people.”
How to soothe heat rash symptoms and prevent the condition
“The main thing to do is keep your skin cool so you do not sweat and irritate the rash,” explained the NHS.
“To keep your skin cool, wear loose cotton clothing, use lightweight bedding, take cool baths or showers, drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration.
“To help calm the itching or prickly rash, apply something cold, such as a damp cloth or ice pack for no more than 20 minutes.
“Tap or pat the rash instead of scratching it.
“Do not use perfumed shower gels or creams.”
When a rash signals something more serious
Keck Medicine of USC advised: “A minor rash is easily treatable with antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream.
“But you should speak with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms
Do you have a fever or pain accompanying your rash? It could be a sign of infection and should quickly be evaluated by your doctor.
Do you have blisters? A rash that begins to blister but that can’t be explained by exposure to poison oak or ivy could be shingles.
Does your rash persist without improvement from over-the-counter medications? If antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream offer no improvement, a visit with your doctor is advised.
Is there any bruising or swelling around it? The rash may be preventing proper blood flow
Is there any discharge or secretion from the rash? Any coloured discharge or bad door is a sign of infection.
Did the rash appear and spread quickly? This could be an allergic reaction to medication or food. Seek immediate medical attention if breathing becomes difficult.
Is the rash circular in shape? This could be a sign of Lyme disease.
Do you have skin discolouration or changes in your skin texture? A yellowing of the skin could indicate liver disease. Hardening and darkening of the skin could be signs of diabetes.”
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