Prickly heat, otherwise known as a sweat rash, heat rash, or miliaria rubra, occurs when sweat is trapped under the skin due to clogged sweat glands. It occurs mostly in summer due to warm temperatures. Prickly heat can occur suddenly and affect anyone, but children are more vulnerable to it because of their still-developing sweat glands. Though the resulting prickly heat symptoms can be treated with home remedies, a medical visit may be required in some situations.
Though prickly heat may show up anywhere, it occurs mostly on the chest, neck, shoulders, face, and any other region where your clothes rub against the skin and traps the sweat under it. The rash usually looks red with symptoms, such as:
These symptoms may appear right away or take a few days to manifest. At times, prickly heat may even take the form of a patch with very small blisters.
Children, especially infants are more susceptible to prickly heat as their sweat glands are still developing and they are yet to get used to the changing temperature. Common affected areas include the face, arms, legs, upper chest and diaper area. You may find your baby acting extra cranky and it will be difficult to put them to sleep. However, there is no reason to worry because, like most other baby rashes, prickly heat will go away on its own.
A few ways in which you can treat your baby’s heat rash include:
Make sure that your baby’s sleeping area is cool and well-ventilated. Also, if you take them out, stick to shady areas or air-conditioned spots whenever possible.
While prickly heat will subside on its own over time, it may have some bothersome symptoms. To prevent the symptoms from worsening, you will need to cool off quickly and avoid additional sweating.
Use a towel or a plastic bag to create one at home and place it over the affected areas for 20 mins. Remove the compress, pat the skin dry, and let it sit in cool air.
Wear breathable clothing made of polyester blends. If you are constantly exposed to hot environments, try to change your clothes often.
While exfoliation may provide temporary relief, it will cause long-term skin damage. So, avoid scrubbing the rash, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Lowering your body temperature is key to stopping sweat that would clog your skin and cause heat rash. So, if possible, stay indoors and if you go outside, stay in shady spots with less exposure to the sun.
You may use any of the following OTC products to calm the itchy or prickly feeling:
Apply as often as needed to treat mild itches.
A thin layer can be applied 4-5 times to uncovered skin for a maximum of 7 days. If the rash persists, discontinue usage and consult your doctor.
Dosage and application will vary depending on age, weight and other factors.
Prickly heat will usually go away on its own without medical treatment. However, depending on its severity, the heat rash may take anywhere between a few hours to several weeks to resolve completely.
The following are some possible timelines for recovery:
Make sure to seek medical help if your heat rash gets worse, or you show signs of heat stroke or exhaustion, such as:
If you are looking for relief from persistent prickly heat symptoms, visit one of our urgent care clinics Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care in Irvine, Fountain Valley Urgent Care, or Costa Mesa Urgent Care, CA. today. With our swift medical care and assistance, we will help you maintain optimum health and wellness.