Prickly Heat Rash : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Bajaj Finserv Health
April 30th, 2022
11 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Prickly heat rash is a common skin condition in summer
  • Wearing tight clothes can cause prickly heat rashes
  • Prickly heat rashes usually go away on their own

Medically known as miliaria, prickly heat rash is a type of rash that forms when sweat gets trapped in your skin [1]. This condition is more common in children, but can affect adults too. These rashes usually affect the part of your body covered with clothing such as your abdomen, neck, back, groin, armpits and chest.  The condition is characterized by itchy rashes made up of small, red spots that cause a stinging or prickly sensation. Read on to know about the causes and symptoms of prickly heat, and learn about prickly heat treatment.

Additional Read: Sunburn Treatment

Prickly Heat

What are the causes of prickly heat rashes? 

When you sweat a lot, it is possible that your sweat ducts get blocked. This leaves sweat trapped underneath the surface of your skin. Sweat can also leak to the epidermis, the top layer of your skin, and get trapped there. You can experience it during any season of the year but it is most common in summers.

Prickly heat rashes are linked with bacteria which are normally present on your skin. These bacteria can form a film which blocks your sweat ducts and contributes to skin problems. Other causes of prickly heat rashes include 

  • Warm or tight clothes 
  • Fever  
  • Medicine patches that are used on skin 
  • Tight bandages 
  • Oral medicines 
  • Health conditions that cause you to sweat excessively 
  • Working or exercising in hot climate

Treatment options for prickly heat rashes

treatment options for prickly heat rashes

What are the prickly heat symptoms?

This disease can be easily identified with its symptoms. The most common symptoms include [2] 

  • Red bumps 
  • Tiny blisters  
  • Redness 
  • Rash 
  • Itching on the area of skin 

The symptoms like blisters may spread to other areas in your body, but the condition is not contagious. Symptoms of prickly heat may resemble the symptoms of other skin conditions like eczema. Talk with your doctor immediately if they last longer.

prickly heat symptoms

What are the treatment options for prickly heat rashes?

It usually does not require treatment as it goes away on its own, but there are some steps you can take at home to stay comfortable and ease the symptoms. Home remedies for prickly heat include 

  • Staying in cooler environments 
  • Avoid skin care products that can further irritate your skin 
  • Using the cold compress technique on the affected areas 
  • Keeping your skin cool and dry 
  • Bathing with cold water 
  • Making sure not to scratch your skin

Many over-the-counter products can help manage prickly heat symptoms like ointments and lotions. Make sure to visit a dermatologist immediately if you think your prickly heat rash is getting infected. Common symptoms of skin infection include 

  • Pus coming out of your blisters 
  • Fever 
  • Chills  
  • Increased pain 
  • More redness  
  • Affected skin feels warm to the touch 
  • Swelling 
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin 

Even if you feel that your symptoms are not going away or worsening, talk to your doctor immediately. 

How can you prevent prickly heat rashes? 

Prickly heat rash is a preventable condition. The most effective methods to avoid its causes are as follows [3] 

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes if you are in a hot-humid climate zone  
  • Take cold water baths and showers multiple times a day 
  • When you are outdoors, spend more time in shade than under sunlight 
  • Use light weight bedding such as material of cotton and linen  
  • Use fans or ACs wherever possible 
  • Change your sweaty or wet clothes as soon as possible 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
  •  Avoid applying any skincare products that could make you sweat

If you are troubled with conditions like hyperhidrosis that cause extra sweating, talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist on how to manage it during summers.

Additional Read: Coffee Benefits for Skin and Health

Prickly heat is not a very serious health condition and often goes away by itself. However, it is still important for you to be mindful of its complications and symptoms. Make sure to keep cool and hydrate constantly during the summer months or while exercising and working outdoors. If you experience rashes that seem to be getting worse or appear like they are infected, contact a doctor immediately. Watch out for signs of exhaustion due to heat and move to cooler areas as soon as you feel it. You can get online dermatologist consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health for expert advices on any kind of skin problems. For a healthy and glowing skin, get guidance from top specialists in your city. Book now from the comfort of your home! 

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