Prickly heat is an itchy rash of small, raised red spots that causes a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin.
The rash can develop anywhere on the body, but it most commonly occurs on your neck, back, waistline, armpits, chest and thighs.
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. They can cause mild swelling, itching and a stinging or intense prickling sensation.
What causes prickly heat?
Prickly heat usually develops when a person sweats more than usual, such as during hot or humid weather. The body’s sweat glands become blocked and the excessive sweating results in sweat becoming trapped beneath your skin. The trapped sweat causes skin irritation and the characteristic heat rash.
You are more at risk of developing prickly heat if you live in a region of hot, humid climate where you sweat more than usual.
What are the symptoms of prickly heat?
The main symptom of prickly heat is an itchy rash that is made up of small, raised red spots.The rash usually appears a few days after exposure to hot temperatures. Occasionally, the symptoms of prickly heat do not appear for several weeks or months.
Prickly heat rash is made up of tiny spots or bumps that are surrounded by a patch of red skin. The spots sometimes look like tiny blisters and may cause:
- mild swelling
- a stinging or intense prickling sensation
The symptoms of prickly heat are usually worse in areas that are covered by clothing. This is because clothing can make you sweat and some fabrics can cause friction (rubbing).
Treating prickly heat
Pricklyrious condition and rarely requires specific treatment. The rash usually disappears after a few days.
However, if you have prickly heat, there are several things you can do to ease your symptoms:
- Avoid excessive heat and humidity – if you need to go outside,spend time in the shade or take a small fan with you. Further exposure to the heat will cause you to sweat more and may make your rash worse.
- Wear loose cotton clothing – avoid wearing synthetic fibres, such as polyester and nylon, which trap heat more easily than natural fibres.
- Keep your skin cool – a cold bath or shower will cool you down, soothe your skin and help prevent sweating. Staying in an air-conditioned room for a few hours a day will also provide considerable relief.
- Rub ice cubes- Rub an ice cube on heat rashes to get quick relief from the burning sensation. You can also use cold compress or ice pack.
- Non-perfumed talcum powder- apply non-perfumed talcum powder or the specially made prickly heat powder for four to five times a day.
- Aloe vera gel- applying the gel over affected area will relief from itching, heal them and also provide a cooling effect.
- Use calamine lotion – this is available at most pharmacies and will help soothe sore and irritated skin.
- Drink plenty of citrus juice- Lime juice, for example, will reduce the internal heat and also keep you well-hydrated. This will reduce your chances of developing prickly heat.
Who gets prickly heat?
Anyone can get prickly heat but people who are overweight or obese are more likely to be affected. This is because they tend to sweat more than people who are slimmer.
Babies and children are also more at risk of getting prickly heat because their sweat glands are not fully developed.
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