Heat rash, also known as prickly heat or maliria nubra, is a common condition that occurs when the skin’s sweat glands are blocked and the sweat produced cannot get to the surface of the skin to evaporate. These blocked sweat glands cause inflammation, resulting in a rash.
It normally occurs in very hot and humid temperatures, and can affect anyone, from children to the elderly. Obese people can be particularly at risk, as heat rash often forms in areas where the skin overlaps.
It is uncertain why some people get heat rash regularly and others don’t, although there are some main reasons why sweat glands may become blocked, for example: wearing tight clothing, sleeping in warm bedding and using heavy creams or lotions.
What are common heat rash symptoms?
Heat rash normally occurs in the form of red bumps on the skin, which feel itchy or ‘prickly’.
They can also consist of tiny blisters.
It can develop anywhere on the body, but it normally appears on the face, neck, back, chest or thighs.
Many things can cause rashes in children and babies, one of which is heat. Take a look at the NHS advice for more information if you discover your child has a rash.
How to prevent heat rash?
An important way to prevent heat rash is to ensure air reaches the skin and cools it down. When it is very hot and humid, wear loose fitting clothing and keep cool in the shade or inside with fans or air conditioning if possible.
Heat rash will generally go away once the skin has sufficiently cooled down, which you can encourage by drinking lots of water and staying out of the sun.
If you have become too hot, the NHS also reccommends taking a cool bath or a shower to soothe the skin and lower your body temperate. The NHS also advises, “You can also use a cold compress, but don’t leave it on the skin for longer than 20 minutes.”
Antihistemine tablets may also be helpful, although you should consult your doctor first. If the skin remains irritated for long periods of time and becomes heavily blistered, you may need antibiotics.
For more information, visit the NHS Choices website.