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It does not need special treatment, but here are a few precautions to keep it at bay.. Summer temperatures are slowly heating up. The long days of hot and humid weather make you sweat like a pig. It’s a sheer torture especially when prickly heat or heat rash appears on the skin. Suddenly you feel like your body is covered with pins and needles. The tiny red bumps and spots also known as miliaria rubra can give you itching, a stinging or prickling sensation and discomfort. Prickly heat does not need any special treatment and it will vanish within a few days. However, you can take precautions to stay away from this irritating problem.

The culprits

The heat and humidity get together and make you perspire so also does intense exercise, certain synthetic fabrics, that do not allow sweat to evaporate or certain medications such as high blood pressure drug or drug for treating bladder problems. Certain bacteria such as staphylococcus on the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin may secrete a sticky substance, which blocks the sweat ducts. Heavy creams and ointments too can block the sweat ducts. If you are overweight or obese you have more chances of getting prickly heat than others. Babies and children are more prone to prickly heat since they have underdeveloped sweat glands.

What to expect?

Excessive sweating can block the sweat glands trapping the sweat underneath your skin. Trapped sweat irritates your skin and forms tiny fluid-filled blisters. The rash occurs especially in the skin folds and all over the body –back, nape, abdomen, upper chest, armpits, groin, hands, feet or neck and even on the face. Prickly heat that appears under your clothing can trouble you more because of friction that your clothes will cause.

Staying away from prickly heat

The rash usually heals on its own within a few days. However, several treatments are available such as phototherapy, antihistamine creams or topical steroids in severe cases. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream helps soothe itching. Anhydrous lanolin can help prevent duct blockage and stop new lesions from forming.

If you feel too sweaty and sticky, bathe twice in a day, wear cottons. Use talcum powder or prickly heat powder after shower. However, check for allergies on sensitive skin. In babies, avoid diapers as far as possible during summer heat. Sweat generally collects around the diaper’s synthetic waistband causing heat rash. Switch to cloth nappies. These will keep your baby cool and prevent nappy and heat rash.

The best way to feel better is to stay indoors in a cooler environment, avoid sun, loosen clothing and expose the affected areas to air. But if your rash seems to be getting worse or shows signs of infection, swelling, pus, pain, fever or chills, you need to take medical advice.

Prevent overexposure to sun by using a sunscreen over SPF 15 and cover your head with a cap or an umbrella. In order to avoid getting prickly heat, do not let perspiration dry on your skin. Wipe away the sweat with a clean towel or a handkerchief to keep the skin dry.


Avoid excess sun and heat Apply cold compresses to cool the area Keep the affected area clean Avoid heavy make-up, greasy creams and moisturizers; these can trap heat causing discomfort Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water Aloe Vera can soothe prickly heat Applying a paste of sandalwood powder in rose water can be soothing Honey, lavender and chamomile can cool the skin Applying buttermilk or curd mixed with water can be cooling Paste of Fuller’s Earth (multani mitti) with rose water soothes the skin. Wash off after 10 minutes Mint, tea, lemon grass tea, butter milk, coconut water, fruits having high water content such as watermelon, pineapple, vegetables like cucumber – all have cooling effect

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