This weeks edition of HH101 focuses on how the unbearable summer temperatures can lead to something uncomfortable, a heat rash, also known as prickly heat
Though it’s common in infants, heat rash can affect adults too, especially during hot, humid, weather, says Robert I. Danoff an osteopathic family physician based in Philadelphia. Prickly heat can develop anywhere on the body, however, it most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back, chest, and thighs. It usually appears a few days after exposure to hot temperatures.
The rash is made up of tiny spots or bumps that are surrounded by an area of red skin. The spots sometimes look like tiny blisters and can cause:
-a stinging or intense prickling sensation
Prickly heat is not a serious medical condition and rarely requires any specific treatment, however, there are several things that you can do to ease your symptoms:
-Avoid excessive heat and humidity (stay hydrated!)
-Wear loose fitting cotton clothing (avoid polyester and nylon)
-Keep your skin cool (a cool bath/shower will cool you down)
-Use calamine lotion (available at most pharmacies)
-Try hydro-cortisone cream (low dosage is effective in treating very itchy skin)
-Antihistamine tablets (to help control itching)
Most heat rashes do not require medical care, says Danoff. The best way to treat the rash is to cool your skin and prevent sweating. Heat rash tends to clear quickly on its own, usually disappearing within a matter of hours, or a day, once the skin is cool. Severe forms of heat rash may require medical attention. If you or someone you know has symptoms that last longer than a few days or notice signs of infection such as:
-Increased pain, swelling, redness or warmth around the affected area
-Golden yellow crust formation or pus draining from lesions
-Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin
-A fever, or chills
Seek medical attention immediately!
Remember, keeping your skin cool and dry is the best measure to take when trying to prevent the rash. Your skin lasts a lifetime, and taking the time to take care of it always pays off.