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Heat Rash: Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Home Remedies

Dr. Suresh Kumar lives in India and enjoys writing about medical topics.

Heat rash can be painful.

Heat rash can be painful.

What Is Heat Rash?

Heat rash is a common skin condition in which areas of your skin sting or feel prickly due to overheating. It is also referred to as miliaria or prickly heat. You can tell you have a heat rash when you see an area of red skin with tiny bumps.

You will usually get heat rash on parts of your body that are clothed, such as your abdomen, neck, back, groin, armpits, and upper chest. It frequently occurs in hot and humid conditions. Heat rash can affect anyone. There are three classifications of heat rash, which are:

  • Miliaria Crystallina: This is a common type and the mildest form of heat rash.
  • Miliaria Rubra: This is the most common type and the form most commonly referred to as prickly heat.
  • Miliaria Profunda: This is a less common type and is a severe form of miliaria rubra.

Symptoms

The symptoms of heat rash depend on the type of heat rash you have. The symptoms include:

Miliaria Crystallina

  • Small, fluid-filled, clear, and easily breakable papules and blisters
  • Blisters are not painful or itchy

Miliaria Rubra

  • Red bumps
  • Itchy or prickly sensation in the affected area
  • Little to no sweating in the affected area
  • Inflamed bumps may fill with pus (called miliaria pustulosa)

Miliaria Profunda

  • Firm, painful, flesh-colored lesions that look like goosebumps
  • Bumps may rupture
  • No perspiration that could lead to heat exhaustion
What causes heat rash?

What causes heat rash?

Causes

The main cause of heat rash is sweat getting trapped in the skin instead of evaporating. You can find your sweat glands in the middle layer of your outer layer of skin, and if you are wearing too many clothes, they can become clogged.

Some of the reasons that your sweat ducts can become clogged include:

  • Creases or folds between the areas of your skin where it can collect sweat
  • Overuse of creams or lotions, which can clog not only your pores but also your sweat glands
  • Tropical climates, where the weather is hot and humid
  • Intense physical activity or anything that can cause you to perspire a lot
  • Certain fabrics that will not let perspiration evaporate normally
  • Certain medications that enhance your sweat gland functions
  • General overheating, such as sleeping with an electric blanket or wearing too many clothes in the winter
  • Confinement to bed for a long period of time (this is especially true if the patient has a fever)

Newborns are also prone to heat rash. Because their sweat ducts are not completely developed, they may rupture easier, trapping perspiration beneath their skin. Usually, this will happen in hot weather, but it has been known to happen if the baby is dressed too warmly. If they are in an incubator because they are premature or develop a high fever, they could also develop blocked sweat ducts.

How do you treat heat rash?

How do you treat heat rash?

Treatment

The best treatment for heat rash is to make sure that you are getting plenty of air circulating around the skin. This means that you need to wear the type of clothing that will allow your skin to “breathe.”

Your clothes should be loose and light. To help minimize your symptoms, you need to drink lots of water and stay cool. By doing this, you can help make sure that your symptoms do not go into heat stroke.

Usually, it will go away on its own, but if it does not, you may have to use some topical lotions containing ingredients such as:

  • Anhydrous lanolin to prevent blockage of sweat ducts
  • Calamine to help reduce itchiness
  • Hydrocortisone to reduce severe symptoms (this should be avoided by pregnant women and children under the age of 10)
What are some home remedies for heat rash?

What are some home remedies for heat rash?

Home Remedies

There are a variety of home remedies that a person can use who has heat rash. Some of those include:

  • Aloe vera: You can use the aloe from the plant if you have one, or you can purchase some aloe vera lotion at the store. Using aloe vera will help to reduce the itch and helps with the healing process. You should apply the aloe vera at least two times a day.
  • Baking soda: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water, soak a washcloth in the mixture, and apply to the areas of your body that are affected for 10–15 minutes at a time, several times a day. This home remedy can help ease the itchiness.
  • Ice packs: If the heat rash is giving you discomfort, you can cool your skin down by putting ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals, then wrap it in a dishtowel and put it on the area that is affected from five minutes to ten minutes. You can repeat this treatment every four hours to six hours.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal can help reduce both inflammation and itchiness caused by heat rash. It can be mixed with water and applied as a paste or added to lukewarm bathwater.
  • Cold or lukewarm showers or baths: If you can stand it, take a cold shower or bath to help get rid of the prickly sensation that often comes with heat rash. If you are taking a bath, add some oatmeal or baking soda. If you do not like the idea of a cold bath or shower, you can use lukewarm water. Make sure that whatever you add to the water is stirred in. You should do this up to three times a day.
  • Air drying: After taking a shower or bath, let your skin air dry if you can instead of drying off with a towel.
  • Stay cool: If your baby is suffering from heat rash, let them just wear a diaper and make sure that they are in a cool room to help ease their symptoms.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Miguel on January 28, 2015:

If he didn't have the rash before the waether turned hot It is probably a heat rash.To keep him comfortable be sure to keep an eye on his neck area,young babies tend to have heat rash on the front of the neck ,because they can't hold their head up yet and in the heat they will sweat and not much air can get in that area to dry it up.Baby acne is very common. It can be present at birth, but more often it shows up after a couple of weeks, usually on the cheeks and sometimes on the forehead, chin, and even the back. These small whiteheads might be surrounded by reddish skin, and they can become more pronounced when your baby is hot or fussy, or if his skin is irritated by saliva, spit-up milk, or fabric that's been washed in strong detergent.By the way, if your baby had tiny bumps on his face at birth that disappeared within two weeks, these are called milia and are unrelated to acne. If his breakout looks more rashy or scaly than pimply, or if it appears elsewhere on his body, he may have another condition, such as cradle cap or eczema.Try washing all his clothes using baby Ivory Snow laundry detergent or Dreft Baby laundry detergent.avoid using any chlorine bleach.If you really need to bleach run the clothes through a second short wash with no detergent .When my kids were babies in the summer I'd only put the diaper on them then wet a washcloth in warm water and lay it over their body as the cloth cools his body can adjust gradually to the coolness.As he gets older in a month or so,he'll enjoy playing with the cool clothDon't put baby oil on your baby,it clogs the pores and if it is applied over the back and chest can create difficulty breathing. You can do a test on yourself to see the effects.I never knew this and always pot the baby oil on my baby's,then one summer it was pretty hot.I used baby oil to speed up my tanning and within a few minutes in the sun I couldn't breathe. Try to stay calm,I know that isn't easy with new borns! Your in laws give good advice,don't hesitate to call on Grandma and Grandpa, Best wishes to you and your New Baby CONGRATS