ST. LOUIS, Mo. _ This is the type of weather when babies get heat rash or prickly heat. Heat rash affects adults, too, especially during hot and humid weather.
Its symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Some forms of heat rash feel prickly or intensely itchy.
Dermatologist, Dr. Mary Noel George of SSM Health DePaul Hospital explains.
Heat rash develops when blocked pores (sweat ducts) trap perspiration under your skin. It usually clears on its own, but not always. Severe forms of heat rash may need medical care, but the best way to relieve symptoms is to cool your skin and prevent sweating.
Adults usually develop heat rash in skin folds. Clothing causes friction. In infants, the rash is mainly found on the neck, shoulders and chest. It can also show up in the armpits, elbow creases and groin.
To help protect yourself or your child from heat rash:
• Avoid overdressing. In summer, wear soft, lightweight, cotton clothing. Make sure clothing allows the sweat to evaporate, especially when exercising or spending time outdoors.
• Avoid tightfitting clothes that can irritate skin.
• When it's hot, stay in the shade or in an air-conditioned building or use a fan to circulate the air.
• Keep your sleeping area cool and well-ventilated
Avoiding overheating may be all you need to do for mild heat rash. Once skin is cool, heat rash tends to clear quickly.
Tips to help your heat rash heal and to be more comfortable include the following:
• Bathe or shower in cool water with nondrying soap, then let your skin air-dry instead of toweling off.
• Use calamine lotion or cool compresses to calm itchy, irritated skin.
• Avoid using creams and ointments that contain petroleum or mineral oil, which can block pores further.
• Wear loose-fitting clothing
More-severe forms of heat rash may require ointments you apply to your skin to relieve discomfort and prevent complications. Such topical treatments may include:
• Calamine lotion to soothe itching (YOU'RE GOING TO NEED AN OCEAN OF CALAMINE LOTION)
• Anhydrous lanolin, which may help prevent duct blockage and stop new lesions from forming
• Topical steroids in the most serious cases
When to see a doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, redness or warmth around the affected area
- Pus draining from the lesions
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck or groin
- A fever or chills