Summer is here and you know what that means- yes, it means a plethora of skin issues! From acne to ringworm to dermatitis, poison ivy and heat rashes- many of us are plagued by a host of skin issues in hot, humid weather. If you have the tendency of developing heat rashes each year and end up at the doctor’s office due to it, then perhaps it is time to take control of your treatment. It is vital that you ask certain questions to your dermatologist so that you can prevent these pesky rashes from recurring. After all- patient education and information can go a long way in clarifying facts so you can keep your skin healthy all year round. With that in mind, following are 5 important questions to ask your dermatologist about heat rashes:
1. Is it really a heat rash or something else?
Many skin conditions look rather similar to a heat rash. Dermatitis, hives, scabies rash, psoriasis, and eczema are just some of the rashes that could be mistaken for a heat rash. However, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis based on your exact symptoms. Heat rash symptoms include skin that is red, itchy and oozing and are typically seen in areas such as the legs, armpits, under the breasts, neck, groin, upper torso and back. In extreme cases, you might develop it on the face too. Also, a heat rash is extremely itchy and inflamed and usually occurs in hot and humid weather. However, sometimes, heat rashes may occur even in winters upon wearing tight winter clothing.
2. What causes heat rashes each year?
Heat rash occurs when the cooling mechanism of the body stops functioning normally. Your doctor will explain exactly why a heat rash occurs. S/he will explain how the skin pores get blocked by bacteria trapping sweat under its surface. This leads to rashes which are collectively known as miliaria/prickly heat or heat rashes. Your doctor might ask you a few questions to assess the reason behind this. It may be owing to extreme exposure to hot and humid environment, wearing the wrong kind of clothing, swaddling yourself too tightly in woolen clothes in winters as well as a weak immune system. S/he might then give you some tips such as: drink tons of water or seek the shade in summers where possible, in order to prevent heat rashes. And that brings us to our next question.
3. How can I prevent heat rashes?
This is the most important of all questions to ask your dermatologist concerning recurring heat rashes. The best way to prevent any kind of summer skin issue is to stay cool and hydrated. Stay indoors in hot weather and sit under a fan or use the air conditioner. Drink plenty of water and take cool baths from time to time. You can soak in a tub bath mixed with some colloidal oatmeal as well. Wear loose cotton clothing as well. Your doctor might also give you additional tips like the right over the counter/prescription products to use to prevent the rashes. Ibuprofen rash treatment, for example, is known to prevent itching, oozing, fever and pain.
4. Heat rash in babies- should I be concerned?
Parents of infants with heat rashes are often alarmed about this condition and rightly so. Babies and toddlers often scratch the heat rash leading to secondary infections that may need antibiotics for treating them. It is important that your doctor takes into account all of your child’s heat rash symptoms and prescribes the right medication that won’t lead to side effects. Most heat rash symptoms in babies and adults disappear on their own without any treatment but it ultimately needs a doctor’s examination to rule out potential complications.
5. What products are best for heat rashes?
Ask your doctor whether you need to take any antihistamine such as Benadryl as well as the precautions to follow if you do take such drowsiness-inducing medication. You can also ask whether to use any specific body washes or soaps-both for heat rash in babies and adults. If you plan on using 1% hydrocortisone cream for heat rashes on your baby, do consult with your pediatrician first. It is important that you follow the advice of your dermatologist at all times especially as far as heat rash products are concerned.
Many people use hydrogen peroxide or petrolatum/mineral oil based lotions and creams which further clog skin pores to aggravate heat rash. These products can be extremely harmful, particularly to a baby’s delicate skin. So, the next time you are suffering from a heat rash, make sure you ask the above 5 questions to your doctor. This is the best way to prevent the rash from recurring.