Summer is the season of sunny days and time spent outdoors. In the summer months, the temperature rises and the sun shines more brightly as compared to the other seasons of the year. Usually, summertime is always welcome for the pleasing weather and because it gives people a chance to enjoy the outdoors. However, summer is also accompanied by woes, thanks to the sweltering heat, rise in temperature, and humidity. Dehydration and sunstroke are extreme cases of the harmful effects of the sun and its heat; however, there are a few other disconcerting conditions caused in the summer months, such as heat rash.
What is heat rash and how is it caused?
Heat rash is also referred to as miliaria or prickly heat; heat rash is the generic name given to a host of skin problems that are caused or aggravated by overheating and sun exposure. Most believe that rashes are commonly seen only in babies, but heat rash affects both adults and babies, especially in the summer months when the weather is humid and hot.
In the summers, people tend to perspire a lot, and when the sweat ducts or pores are blocked (usually due to excessive perspiration), they trap the perspiration within the skin, thus leading to heat rash. Clogged sweat ducts are the cause of heat rash, where the perspiration, instead of evaporating, tends to get trapped within the skin, leading to inflammation and rash. There could be a number of reasons for clogged pores, ranging from:
- immature sweat ducts such as those of babies, who are more prone to rashes
- intense physical activity, which leads to excessive sweating
- residing in tropical climates where the weather can cause rashes
- being on bed rest for a prolonged period of time
- overheating, for instance by using an electric blanket while sleeping
- overdressing in warm clothes
A mild case of heat rash can usually clear out on its own, but a severe case requires medical attention and care.
Symptoms of heat rash
The appearance of heat rash is usually characterized by small red or pink bumps that look like pinpoints present at the entrance of the sweat glands. Severe heat rash might be accompanied by a higher degree of discomfort and irritation along with raised red bumps (which could sometimes be filled with pus) along with large welts. The common places where the rashes appear are the areas where the body tends to sweat more, such as the elbow folds, armpits, groin, buttocks, shoulders, underneath the breasts, back, neck, face, and abdomen.
Treatment and prevention
The treatment for heat rash includes avoiding overheating of the area and cooling the skin for the rash to clear. Ointments can be applied for severe forms of rash, such as calamine lotions, topical steroids, and anhydrous lanolin. However, for heat rash, prevention is the best form of treatment; therefore, wear lightweight, soft cotton clothing and avoid overdressing in summer or wearing tight-fitting clothes that can cause irritation. Sleep in a well-ventilated area, which is cool. During the day, avoid stepping out when the sun is overhead and it is very hot outside; stay in a shaded area or simply stay indoors or in an air-conditioned building.
Heat rash can easily be avoided by taking precaution and care.