A heat rash is considered as a common condition that develops once the skin overheats. In temperate climates, heat rashes develop during summertime but occur all year round in tropical climates. The heat rash can develop on any part of the body where there are sweat glands, but quite common on the chest and back. They appear as red-colored bumps or similar to water blisters. It is important to note that the rashes can be itchy and oftentimes tingle or burn.
Potential causes of heat rash
The itchy bumps are due to the sweat trapped in the eccrine ducts. There are various reasons why these sweat glands end up clogged. It might be due to the excess humidity that disrupted the evaporation of sweat from the skin.
The excess sweat backs up, thus blocking out the duct. The usual bacteria present on the skin might generate a sticky substance in warm, humid environments and block the sweat ducts. This causes the backup of sweat in the gland. Those who rest on their stomach or back can physically block the ducts. This is the reason why heat rash is quite common among individuals who are bedridden, infants who cannot flip over as well as those who sleep in warm rooms without air conditioning.
Types of heat rash
The medical term of heat rash is miliaria and there are various types. The mildest form is called as miliaria crystalline. This rash usually appears as small, clear blisters on the back and chest. Since there is no inflammation, redness and itchiness involved, they are not linked with this type.
Miliaria rubra is another common type of heat rash. This type of rash can develop in the back or chest as well as skin folds such as the arms, under the breasts or folds in the legs or arms. With this type of rash, blockage of the sweat ducts can result to inflammation which results to red-colored bumps that are often itchy.
Miliaria pustulosa usually forms in the affected areas. This type is an uncommon form of heat rash. Miliaria profunda typically follows an extended, severe course of common heat rash. Luckily, it occurs only in tropical areas. The inflammation is deep in the skin and results to firm, deep bumps not considered itchy.
The ideal way to properly manage the rash is to cool it off. If the individual starts to feel warm and sweaty, he/she must move to an air-conditioned room. Once the individual cools off, the sweat glands will no longer produce sweat and the issue resolves.
If the individual could not move to an air-conditioned room, fans can be used directly on the skin. You can also utilize a moisturizer that contains mild acid that can dissolve the plugs in the sweat ducts, thus allowing the sweat to freely flow. In addition, application of powder such as talcum or even a small amount of cornstarch can absorb the sweat and improve the condition.
There are also soothing, cool baths that include colloidal oatmeal. This is an effective anti-inflammatory that can minimize the inflammation and ease the itchiness. In addition, anti-itch creams can also minimize the itchiness and inflammation.
How to prevent heat rash
The ideal way to avoid a heat rash is to stay cool. In case the bedroom is humid and warm, it is best to use an air conditioner at night time to keep the skin dry and cool. Fans that blow directly on the skin can help sweat evaporate. If possible, wear loose clothing made out of breathable fabrics that enable the sweat to easily evaporate. Closely monitor infants and the elderly since they can overhead rapidly.