Heat Rash Treatment In Gainesville, FL
Skin is your body's first line of defense from the outside world. The skin protects us from infections, chemical exposures, and harmful ultraviolet light. It also helps our bodies regulate our temperature by producing sweat. When our sweat ducts become clogged, heat rash (prickly heat), a common and uncomfortable condition, may occur. If you believe you have heat rash or any other type of skin condition, contact a Gainesville dermatologist with Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery for prompt treatment and compassionate care.
What Is Heat Rash?
Among the most common types of skin rashes, heat rash, also known as miliaria and prickly heat, isn't a condition that only affects babies. It affects adults, too, particularly during hot, humid weather. Heat rash develops when blocked sweat ducts, or pores, trap perspiration under the skin, resulting in the skin producing superficial blisters and deep, red lumps. Some types of heat rash feel prickly, while others may feel intensely itchy. Heat rash occurs most often in hot and humid climates, and it is most common in infants, though patients of any age can experience it. Patients who are active, newborns in incubators, and people on bed rest with fever have a high likelihood of developing heat rash.
The mildest form of heat rash (miliaria crystallina) affects the sweat ducts in the top layer of skin. This type of heat rash causes the formation of clear, fluid-filled blisters and papules (bumps) that break open easily. Miliaria rubra occurs deeper in the skin and is sometimes called prickly heat. Signs and symptoms include red bumps and itching or prickling in the affected area of the body. In miliaria pustulosa, the fluid-filled sacs of miliaria rubra become inflamed and filled with pus. A less common form of heat rash, called miliaria profunda, affects the dermis (a deeper layer of skin). The retained sweat leaks out of the sweat glands and into the skin, which causes hardened, flesh-colored lesions that resemble goose bumps to form.
Heat Rash Symptoms
While different forms of heat rash may produce multiple different symptoms, the most common symptoms of heat rash can include the following. Heat rash often affects areas where sweating is most likely to occur, including the face, neck, areas under the breasts, and under the scrotum, among other areas. It can also appear in skin folds and areas where skin rubs against clothing, such as the stomach, chest, and back. If bacteria infiltrate the plugged sweat glands, it can lead to inflammation and infection. To learn more about this condition or to schedule an appointment for treatment, please contact our dermatology clinic.
- Itching Skin Sensations
- Prickling Skin Sensations
- Mild-To-Moderate Swelling
- Red Spots On Light Skin Tones
- White Globules On Dark Skin Tones
What Causes Heat Rash?
Newborns, infants, the elderly, and obese patients who have large areas with skin-on-skin contact are at risk for developing heat rash. These patients are especially susceptible if they are immobile for long periods, during which time parts of their skin are not exposed to circulating air. This results in the inability of sweat glands to cool down the body properly. The primary heat rash cause is living in hot, humid climates because people sweat more here. Intense exercise that causes significant sweating can cause heat rash, especially if the clothing worn restricts or does not allow adequate air circulation. You can get heat rash in cooler temperatures if you wear restrictive clothing or sleep under covers that lead to overheating. Babies carry a high risk of heat rash because their pores are not yet fully developed.
Heat Rash Treatment
Treating heat rash usually involves cooling the skin and avoiding exposure to the heat that causes it. We recommend contacting your doctor if you or your child have symptoms that last longer than a few days, the rash seems to be getting worse, or you notice signs of infection such as increased pain, swelling, redness or warmth around the affected skin; pus draining from the lesions; swollen lymph nodes, or a fever or chills. While sleeping, run a fan in the bedroom and lie on cotton sheets/a cotton towel (for adults and children above 1) to absorb sweat. Do not use ointments or products containing oil on the skin, as they can further block your sweat glands or pores. For reducing any itching, you may use an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream and apply it to the affected area as directed (avoid hydrocortisone ointment). Alternatively, you can use calamine lotion for heat rash.
How Long Does Heat Rash Last?
Heat rash typically heals on its own within about 24 hours to 4 days from when the symptoms first appear. In most cases of heat rash in adults as well as heat rash on babies, the rash usually does away on its own within 3–4 days, so long as the site is not irritated further, you move to an area that is cool with less humidity, the body is cooled, and the source of the heat rash is no longer present. If your heat rash symptoms or your child's symptoms are not dissipating, if the itchiness is severe, the rash area is swollen or oozes pus, you feel dizzy, nauseated, confused or if you have trouble breathing, contact 911 or go to the emergency room right away. These symptoms can be signs of a serious heat-related illness, such as heatstroke.
How To Prevent Heat Rash
There are several heat rash remedies that can help keep your body cool while staving off the possibility of developing heat rash. Additionally, our dermatologists offer the following heat rash prevention tips.
- Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothing.
- When exercising, choose a cool, air-conditioned environment.
- Use showers, fans, and air conditioning to reduce your body's temperature.
- Avoid synthetic fabrics and any irritants that aggravate your symptoms.
- Avoid staying in wet clothing, such as after swimming or sweating.
- Apply a cool compress (damp cloth or ice pack wrapped in a towel) to the affected area or rash for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- Use light bedding made from pure cotton.
- Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) to prevent dehydration.
- Instead of itching your rash, tape or pat in instead.