These are the most common questions people have when they come to my site. This article may give you all the answers you were looking for.
What is heat rash?
Heat rash or miliaria rubra is also called prickly heat. It is a skin condition affecting people of all ages but is more common in young children. It is caused due to excess sweating in hot and humid conditions. Heat rashes can also occur in winters from bundling up too tight in woolen clothes or blankets that lead to excessive sweating.
What are the signs and symptoms of heat rash?
Heat rash appears as a red cluster of boils or pimples. It typically affects the regions such as the neck, upper chest and back, armpits, below the breasts, in the groin and creases of the elbows. The rash can itch or sting and worsens with heat and humidity. Individuals may also feel fatigued and intolerant to heat on account of blocked sweat ducts that prevent sweat formation in affected regions.
What is the best treatment for heat rash?
Since heat rashes generally appear in the hot and summer months, it is best to avoid such environments as far as possible. Individuals must stay indoors or in air conditioned and cooler areas. People who need to work outdoors in hot and humid conditions must take basic precautions like drinking plenty of water, wearing loose and comfortable clothing, and taking frequent breaks in shaded areas.
Who is most at risk from heat rashes?
Heat rash can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in young children. Babies can also suffer from heat rashes when bundled up too tight. Workers who need to work in hot and humid environment are also prone to heat rashes particularly when they are not used to it. Sometimes, heat rash may also occur in people having a fever. People of all races can get heat rash but it is lesser in Asians.
What are the self care guidelines for early signs of heat rash?
Most mild cases of heat rashes go away on their own, by following basic precautions such as taking cool baths and keeping the skin dry by dusting liberally with talcum powders etc. One must also wear loose and comfortable clothing. People suffering from heat rashes must avoid creams and lotions as these keep the skin moist and aggravate the condition. If heat rash does occur, one must remove the tight and offensive clothing immediately and seek a cooler environment. If fever is causing the heat rash, one must take a fever reducing medication and ensure drinking plenty of fluids.
What kind of clothes should one wear for heat rash prevention?
Individuals prone to heat rashes must wear as little clothing as possible, when at home. One must choose light weight, loose fitting and light colored fabrics. When required to go outdoors, individuals must protect their head with a wide brimmed hat or an umbrella and seek shaded regions to keep the body as cool as possible.
When to seek medical help?
As stated above, heat rashes generally go away after a while. However, secondary skin infections can occur particularly from scratching the site and these might need antibiotics for resolution. Medical help must be sought immediately if the rash is still present after a few days or is inflamed, pus-filled, oozing or swollen.
What treatment is prescribed for heat rashes?
Oral or topical medication containing antibiotics may be given for treating the secondary skin infections. If the heat rash is accompanied by excessive dehydration, then IV fluids may be administered. In case of a heat stroke, the patient may be treated to excessive cooling techniques to bring down the body temperature. These may need hospitalization particularly if the patient is being treated to immersion, evaporation or other invasive cooling techniques.
How can workers protect themselves in extremely hot working conditions?
Workers must pace their work and take frequent breaks in cooler environments. As stated above, workers must wear loose fitting clothing and keep the skin dry using prickly heat talcum powders. Factories and commercial facilities should provide rest areas and air conditioned rooms close to the workplace and also schedule strenuous outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.