Skin Care Tips for Summer: Heat Rash Treatment

Posted by The Urgency Room on Monday, June 3, 2024
Updated on: Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Keywords: skin care tips

The weather often celebrated in summer can also lead to some health challenges. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are significant concerns during the warmer months, but the heat can also lead to uncomfortable and problematic rashes. How to best treat heat rash can help keep you and your loved ones comfortable and healthy throughout the summer.

What Is a Heat Rash?

Heat rash, or prickly heat or miliaria rubra, is an uncomfortable skin condition that occurs when sweat becomes trapped in the skin's pores. This blockage leads to inflammation and the formation of tiny, red bumps. 

Although typically mild and temporary, heat rash can cause significant discomfort and itchiness. In rare cases, it can escalate to the point where medical intervention is necessary. 

Adults typically develop heat rash in skin folds and areas where clothing rubs against the skin. Babies are more prone to developing it in their necks, shoulders, chest, the creases of their elbows, and behind their knees.

Types and Symptoms of Heat Rash

While many people imagine mild, itchy red bumps when they think of heat rashes, it isn’t the only form. There are several types to be aware of, including:

  • Miliaria Crystallina: This is the mildest form of heat rash, occurring when sweat pores are blocked. It features tiny, clear, fluid-filled bumps that break easily.
  • Miliaria Rubra: Also known as prickly heat, small, inflamed, blister-like bumps, and an itching or prickling sensation in the affected area characterize this form and cause more discomfort.
  • Miliaria Pustulosa: When the bumps caused by miliaria rubra fill with pus, they become a slightly more severe version known as miliaria pustulosa.
  • Miliaria Profunda: This rare form affects the dermis, the deepest layer of skin. It causes firm, painful, or itchy inflamed bumps that resemble goosebumps and may break open.

In general, heat rashes often manifest as small bumps that can sometimes be filled with pus. These bumps may feel itchy or prickly, but professional treatment may be necessary if they begin oozing pus or become excessively painful.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Heat Rash and an Allergic Reaction?

Two factors you’ll want to consider are texture and timing. Allergic reactions manifest as raised welts or hives, indicating an immune system response. At the same time, a heat rash alters the skin's texture, leading to a rough, bumpy patch.

The other key factor to consider is the timing. 

Have you recently come in contact with an allergen or been sweating excessively? Consider whether symptoms appear suddenly, indicating an allergic reaction, or become apparent over time, which is more typical of a heat rash.

Suppose you’ve never experienced a heat rash before, and you have some experience with mild allergic reactions. 

In that case, the two rashes can look similar, making it hard to distinguish what’s really going on. Thankfully, a few telltale signs differentiate a heat rash from an allergic reaction.

How to Prevent Heat Rash

Since sweat becoming trapped in the skin's pores causes heat rashes, the best way to prevent it is to avoid trapping sweat against the body. 

This can involve reducing the amount you sweat and making it easier for sweat to evaporate by:

  • Staying indoors or in shaded areas when it’s very hot outside
  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Avoiding excessive physical activity
  • Wearing loose-fitting, breathable, cotton clothing
  • Keeping your skin cool with and clean with regular showers

However, heat rashes may occur occasionally, especially in infants and young children, even when all these prevention techniques are utilized. 

When that happens, you’ll want to know the best treatment methods.

Heat Rash Treatment

The best way to treat heat rash is to cool the skin and soothe the itchy or prickly sensations it causes. People are advised to take cool showers or baths, wear breathable and loose-fitting clothing, use lightweight bedding, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Eliminating that uncomfortable itchiness or prickliness usually involves applying a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel for up to twenty minutes. It’s essential to avoid scratching the rash, as this can cause the bumps or blisters to pop or break open, increasing the possibility of infection. 

A few other tricks, such as applying calamine lotion or soaking in an oatmeal bath, may also help reduce the unpleasant side effects of heat rashes. 

However, avoid these methods if your symptoms appear severe or if the bumps have burst open.

Online Care for Heat Rash

If you experience any of the following, it’s essential to reach out for treatment.

  • Pus-filled blisters
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Unmanageable itchiness/discomfort

Most people who develop heat rash experience only mild symptoms, often clearing up within a few days to a few weeks.

However, occasionally, the rash doesn’t go away on its own, or people develop concerning symptoms that require treatment from a medical professional. 

A healthcare provider can assess your condition quickly online and prescribe medication to manage your symptoms so you can enjoy the summer. Consider making a telehealth appointment for quick and affordable care. 

Summer Skin Care Tips

Plenty of people anticipate the summer season for its beautiful weather, plentiful activities, and freedom from schooling for younger people. However, this time of year isn’t all trips to the beach and long days relaxing in the sun. Learn more about things to watch out for during this time of year, including typical hazards like poison ivy or ticks

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