Heat Rash (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Heat rash facts
- What is heat rash?
- What are the causes of heat rash?
- What are the symptoms of heat rash in children and adults?
- Who is at risk for heat rash?
- What does heat rash look like?
- Heat rash pictures
- How is heat rash diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for heat rash?
- Home remedies for heat rash
- Medical treatment for heat rash
- How can heat rash be prevented?
- How effective are electric fans in preventing heat rash?
- How can people protect their health when temperatures are extremely high?
- How much water should I drink in hot weather?
- Should I take salt tablets during hot weather?
- What is the best clothing for hot weather or a heat wave?
- What is the prognosis for heat rash?
- Pictures of Heat Rash - Slideshow
- Pictures of Summer Skin Hazards - Slideshow
- Pictures of Dehydration Tips - Slideshow
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How is heat rash diagnosed?
The diagnosis of heat rash or prickly heat is made by physical examination. Knowing that the rash appears during sweating or heat, appreciating the location on the body (in skin creases or where clothes fit tightly) and seeing what the rash looks like is enough to make the diagnosis. As with many rashes, the health care professional may look at the involved skin and because of previous experience, immediately make the diagnosis.
What is the treatment for heat rash?
Treatment for heat rash include home remedies such as over-the-counter creams and sprays. Medical treatment for heat rash may involve antibiotics if the sweat glands become infected.
Home remedies for heat rash
Heat rash often resolves on its own when the skin cools. If the prickly sensation persists, calamine lotion may be helpful. Some clinicians also recommend over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or sprays.
Some people suggest that vitamin A or vitamin C creams may be effective to treat heat rash, and while there is no hard evidence that they work, there is little harm in these treatments.
Medical treatment for heat rash
Heat rash or prickly heat resolves on its own once the skin cools, but on occasion the sweat glands can become infected. The signs of infection include pain, increased swelling, and redness that does not resolve. Pustules may form at the site of the rash. This infection occurs because bacteria have invaded the blocked sweat gland. Antibiotic treatment may be required. Chronic and recurrent heat rash may need to be treated by a health care professional or dermatologist (skin specialist).
How can heat rash be prevented?
Prevention is the most important treatment for heat rash; by allowing the skin to be exposed to circulating air, the potential for sweat ducts to become blocked and the glands to become inflamed decreases.
Other strategies to prevent heat rash include:
- Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather
- Wear loose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton
- Use air conditioning
- Keep the skin clean with frequent baths or showers to prevent sweat glands from becoming clogged
- Reduce the amount of overlapping skin-on-skin (fat or weight loss)
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