Does your heat rash remind you of summer or the other way around? Summer brings with it thoughts of the beach, barbecues – all the “beautiful” people (those toned, tanned and taut plus the rest of us) in shorts, sandals and swimsuits but it also brings with it, for some, the dreaded heat rash.
It’s more than annoying – it’s prickly, bumpy and madly uncomfortable. I mean, there is absolutely no reason anyone would want to put up with this red bump bonanza so let’s get to the bottom of it.
Here I’ll decode a few of the mysteries surrounding heat rash. Read on for an explanation of what heat rash is, how its caused and most importantly, what you can do in order to control, if not completely eliminate, heat rash.
What is Heat Rash?
Heat rash manifests itself as dermatological issue, where a person’s skin feels irritated, looks inflamed or is just plain uncomfortable.
The cause of this rash is prolonged exposure to heat (and not just the sun), heated conditions, high temperatures and excess humidity.
Heat rash can also be commonly referred to as “prickly heat” and “miliaria” (not to be confused with ‘malaria’) and is generally prevalent during summer months of intense heat and in many cases in geographic regions where higher humidity is found.
The only saving grace with heat rash (looking on the positive side) is that, under normal circumstances, it is a self-resolving skin issue and rarely requires extended medical attention. When you take away the irritant, the rash will likely go away on its own.
Anyone experiencing this inconvenient rash need only take a few precautionary measures to reduce its incidence and prevent any spreading. The downside of these nasty little red bumps is that they do have a tendency to show up in some of the most embarrassing places.
Who is Susceptible to Getting It?
Heat rash, interestingly enough, can happen to just about anybody and there’s no specific group or type of person who is single out over than another.
With that said, the incidence and occurrences of heat rash can be elevated by condition, for certain individuals such as infants, athletes who train under hot climates or surroundings, toddlers under the age of 4, military personnel on deployment (think of our soldiers in the and around the Middle East), firefighters and persons who may be overweight.
How Do I Recognize Heat Rash?
Prickly heat will manifest itself as little inflammations with red or pink patches at the base of your hair follicles. Extreme cases may present themselves as hives, large welts and resulting in much increased irritation. Although it must be noted while some individuals feel significant discomfort when afflicted, there are others who may feel no irritation at all other than trying to conceal it.
The parts of the body that are most susceptible to prickly heat outbreaks may include parts of your face, the back of your neck (nape), your upper back, groin, abdomen, buttocks, armpit and your chest area.
So I Have It…How Do I Get Rid if It?
While there is no definitive treatment for a heat rash, and as mentioned earlier usually resolves on its own, there are precautions you can take to decrease your risk of getting it. Here are some suggestions that work:
Avoid situations that lead to excessive perspiration such as exercising in hot and humid conditions Avoid, if possible, hot and humid environments where your body will need to sweat in order to regulate your body’s temperature Wear airy, lightweight and loose fitting clothing that will allows circulation Be sure your clothing doesn’t stick to your skin, because this may cause irritation when your skin can’t breathe Drink sufficient quantities of water to help stay hydrated – this will aid in your skin healing quicker in the heat When possible, take showers with cool water to regulate the temperature of your skin which will help reduce the spread of a heat rash After your shower, allow the water to dry naturally, thereby cooling your core temperatures and leaving you less susceptible to rash Prickly Heat Talcum Powder products also provide some relief from the itching sensations of miliaria, as do gels and creams that are available over the counter in any pharmacy or big box retailer
In rare cases, the heat rash bumps may burst posing a risk of infection. This is why you should never scratch the rash. If you do get little red pimple-looking bumps with the surrounding skin clear; and if any liquid that oozes out of the skin rupture is clear as well, it’s likely a heat rash. Always disinfect and dress any rupture to prevent infection and to keep it from spreading. If any symptoms worsen, it’s best that you seek medical attention. Don’t second guess yourself when it comes to a potential infection.
There you have it – a breakdown of one of the summer’s most annoying side effects (next to a sunburn) that could possibly impact a large part of your summer activities. The good news though, is that there is no reason you can’t beat the heat, and slay that prickly monster with a little preemptive maintenance.
So go out – enjoy the summertime and just keep in mind the tips on how to combat and decrease your risk of heat rash. Take pleasure in that long day of lounging on the beach or at the pool (don’t forget your sunscreen), spend the evenings sipping beer over grilled chicken or steak or live a little with a night out dancing at the hottest (no pun intended) night spots in your area.
Beat the heat and you’ll beat the heat rash.