Prickly Heat Rash

Prickly heat rash is common skin disease that consists on an intense itch and feel prickly or even sting, due to overheating. It usually appears on parts of the body commonly covered by clothes, like for instance the back, neck, abdominal area, chest and groin. This disease is medically known as miliaria.

Although it is normally self-healing, usually disappearing on its own within a few days, there are some cases in which prickly heat rash can cause a malfunction in the normal heat-regulation mechanism of the body, which may lead to fever and a deep sensation of illness.

Prickly heat rash is most common in infants and small children. Newborns that are in incubators are particularly likely to get prickly heat rash, and also are very physically active people.

Causes Of Prickly Heat Rash

In a hot and humid environment, the excess of perspiration damages the cells on the surface of the skin. These damaged cells form a barrier that traps sweat beneath the skin in small bumps, or blisters.

Eventually, these bumps or blisters will burst and release the sweat. When this happens, there is a stinging or prickly sensation. Additionally, the sweat gland ducts can also be plugged with bacterium from the staphylococcus family, which are commonly present in the skin.

Symptoms Of Prickly Heat Rash

Symptoms of prickly heat rash include the presence of papules (small red rashes), which may itch and cause an intense ‘needles and pins’ prickling feeling. These rashes may appear simultaneously at a number of different areas on the skin of a person suffering from prickly heat rash, including face, neck, under the breasts, under the scrotum and in certain body skin folds. It may appear also in those areas of the body that usually rub against the clothes, like the back, stomach, and chest

Treatment Of Prickly Heat Rash

Normally, prickly heat rash disappears by itself within a few days, although severe infections can last weeks. Avoiding sweating by staying in cool, fresh environments free of humidity will certainly speed up the healing process.

Lotions can be used to control the itch, but special care should be taken with oil-based products, for they can delay the normal healing process. Topical antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the presence of bacterial agents that may worsen the condition and produce infection.

Once prickly heat rash has disappeared, it will take some time for the body to replace dead sweat glands and skin cells with new ones. This process may be improved by taking frequent showers with antibacterial soap.

Prevention Of Prickly Heat Rash

Prickly heat rash can be prevented by staying away from activities that induce sweating. Cooling the environment by using air conditioning, wearing light clothes and avoiding hot and humid weather may prevent the development of prickly heat rash. Taking several showers during the day is another good preventive action.

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