Heat rash is typically a pink or red rash due to excessive sweating; it may lead to pain, discomfort and almost intolerable itching. Babies are often affected by a heat rash but it may also affect adults, those who reside in hot, humid climates may be at greater risk of developing this type of condition.
Heat rash may well be aggravated by the clothes we wear and frequently occurs in the groin area, abdomen, neck, back, armpits and chest. In severe cases where the bodys ability to regulate heat has been compromised the patient may experience heat stroke, fever and even death as well as the simple heat rash!
Heat rash does not generally require medical treatment – even though it may appear unsightly as large areas of skin develop a reddened and bumpy appearance. This type of rash is often recognised as nappy, or diaper, rash and also often occurs around the neck and throat. Sweating for any reason may lead to the development of a rash – the blocking of sweat glands as a result of over use of antiperspirant sprays and poor hygiene may well exacerbate the problem.
Heat rash may be considered a minor, even trivial, problem, but if it persists for more than three days or is accompanied by a fever medical attention must be sought – particularly if the patient is a child or infant.
In order to avoid the development of heat stroke and its associated rash it is essential to take the necessary precautions – particularly if you are working in excessive heat. Ensuring that adequate hydration is maintained will help the body to deal with the unusual heat and reduce the probability of developing heat stroke.
During a heat wave it is essential to regularly check on the well being of any elderly relatives or neighbours, encourage them to keep cool using fans and increased ventilation, remind them to drink plenty of fluids. Both excess heat and dehydration can impair mental function and cause an individual to appear confused or even to lose consciousness.
If a heat rash has developed, steps should be taken to prevent it worsening.
- Anti-histamines will help to reduce any itching and the appearance of hives
- Keep the affected area as dry as possible, use a medicated talcum powder but, if possible, avoid creams and ointments which may well increase the warmth and humidity of the skin.
- Try to keep the bedroom cool
- Use antiseptic wipes on the rash to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.
- Hydrocortisone creams – if absolutely necessary a 1% hydrocortisone cream will aid the healing process when applied in a very thin layer to the affected area two or three times daily.
- Take a vitamin C supplement – studies have shown that vitamin C may aid the healing of heat rash and even prevent its development.
By taking the right precautions and being fully equipped with the right medications it is quite possible to enjoy the warm, summer months without being adversely affected by the heat.