PT Health Life

Heat rash: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

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PT health Life – Heat rash often appears in the hot summer, concentrated in large patches in areas of the skin that secrete a lot of sweat such as: chest, back, forehead, head, neck… In some severe cases, it can occur. Appears almost all over the body.

1. Causes of heat rash

Miliaria is a condition that occurs in hot, humid weather. Normally when the temperature increases, the body will regulate heat by secreting a lot of sweat to reduce body temperature. 

When sweat is secreted too much and the pores are clogged with dirt or infection, the sweat will stagnate in the sweat ducts in the skin or the ducts will burst, causing heat rash. Not only children but adults can also get heat rash.

Some favorable conditions for prickly heat rash to appear are places with high temperatures, hot and humid climates, lack of ventilation, and children wearing too many clothes that cause suffocation and rarely bathing.

Heat rash develops when some of your sweat ducts become clogged. Instead of evaporating, sweat is trapped under the skin, causing inflammation and rashes.

It’s not always clear why sweat ducts become blocked, but several factors appear to play a role, including:

  • Immature sweat ducts. A newborn’s sweat ducts are not fully developed. They can break more easily, trapping sweat under the skin. Heat rash can develop during the first week of life, especially if the newborn is warmed in an incubator, dressed too warmly, or has a fever.
  • Tropical. Hot and humid weather can cause heat rash.
  • Physical activity. Intense exercise, hard work, or any activity that causes you to sweat a lot can lead to heat rash.
  • Too hot. Wearing clothes that are too warm or sleeping under an electric blanket can lead to heat rash.
  • Prolonged bed rest. Heat rash can also occur in people who lie in bed for long periods of time, especially if they have a fever.

2. Heat rash symptoms

Heat rash often appears in the hot summer, concentrated in large patches in areas of the skin that secrete a lot of sweat. such as: chest, back, forehead, head, neck… In some severe cases, it can appear almost all over the body.

The lesions caused by heat rash on the skin are usually pink-red papules, with small blisters on top, sometimes with white pustules mixed in. In young children, the skin affected by prickly heat rash often feels uncomfortable and irritable, leading to the child scratching, making this part of the skin susceptible to bacterial infection. When the weather is cool, prickly heat rash often disappears on its own, leaving behind thin, white scabs that fall off a few days later and the skin returns to normal, without scars.

2.1 Types of heat rash

Types of heat rash or heat rash are classified according to the depth of the blocked sweat ducts. Signs and symptoms for each type vary. Signs of prickly heat rash can be divided into following types:

  • Crystalline prickly heat rash: This type of prickly heat rash has no inflammation, shallow blisters in the stratum corneum, often appears when there is a high fever and does not leave scars.
  • Red prickly heat rash: Usually appears on the back, body or areas where clothes rub against the skin. The damage caused by rosacea is usually red papules that grow in thick clusters and cause discomfort to the patient. Young children with prickly heat rash often appear in the groin, armpits, neck, etc. This type of prickly heat rash can easily cause complications such as folliculitis, boils caused by Staphylococcus aureus infection, etc.
  • Deep heat rash: This is a recurring condition of red heat rash. The lesions are usually 1-3mm light-colored, hard papules that often appear on the trunk, limbs. Although it does not cause itching or discomfort like red heat rash, deep heat rash has the risk of permanently damaging sweat glands.
The patient has prickly heat rash.

3. Is heat rash contagious?

Heat rash is a non-communicable disease.

4. Prevent heat rash

To prevent prickly heat in the summer, the first thing is to keep the surrounding environment cool, avoid places with high temperatures, heat, stuffiness. If you have to go out in hot weather, you need protective gear such as: umbrella, wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved clothes. Everyone should bathe every day with cool water to keep pores clear.

You should choose clothes that are loose, airy and sweat-absorbent. For young children, it is necessary to choose cool, cotton diapers and change diapers regularly.

People should maintain a nutritious diet, drink enough water, add foods rich in vitamins to their daily menu, and limit foods high in sugar. 

To prevent prickly heat in the summer, people should: 

  • Wear loose, breathable clothing, preferably cotton to help absorb sweat well.
  • Limit exposure to hot and humid conditions, find a cool, well-ventilated place in hot weather.
  • Drink plenty of water to maintain heat balance and help the body cool from the inside.
  • Bathe regularly to clean sweat and dirt from your body
Patients with prickly heat rash have complications of folliculitis


5. Treatment of heat rash

Heat rash is usually benign and can go away on its own in cool weather without treatment, but if not cared for or treated, it can lead to more serious complications such as folliculitis and boils. The patient’s reflex when having heat rash is to scratch. This makes the patient feel comfortable at that time but carries the risk of causing damage to the skin. The principle of treating heat rash is to cool the body, let the body breathe, limit sweat secretion and prevent skin inflammation. 

Patients with prickly heat rash need to adjust some habits in daily activities:

  • Keep the living environment cool and the air well ventilated. Avoid hot, stuffy places,
  • Choose clothes made of sweat-absorbent, loose material. For children, you should use thin, fibrous diapers. When the body is not hot and sweating is limited, heat rash may go away on its own.
  • Regularly bathe to keep your skin clean, your pores clear and your body cool. You should bathe with shower gel with a pH suitable for your skin.
  • In case of skin inflammation, hair follicle infection, pustules… you need to go to a medical facility to be examined by a dermatologist.
  • Patients should absolutely not arbitrarily apply medications or apply medications of unknown origin because they may cause allergies or damage to the skin.
  • Patients need to drink enough water and can drink some types of drinks that have a cooling effect such as cassava, black beans, orange juice, lemon juice, etc. You should limit drinks with a lot of sugar.
  • Add vitamins, vegetables and fruits to your daily menu and limit foods high in sugar.  
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