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Summer is the time for outdoor activities, lazing on the beach, picnics and more. But beware of Prickly heat rash - painful fallout of hot and humid summers. This uncomfortable condition is more common among children though adults experience it too. Caused by excessive perspiration, prickly heat can be kept at bay with simple steps.
In medical parlance, prickly heat is referred to as miliaria - a common condition that occurs when you are in a hot and humid place. Excessive perspiration wreaks damage on the outer surface of the skin. The damaged cells form a barrier and sweat gets entrapped beneath the skin. This moisture manifests as small red rashes or eruptions. They cause a stinging prickling feeling. The red eruptions arise as a result of blood vessels in the area dilating to cool the skin down.
Such bumps erupt on covered parts of the skin, where there is friction with cloth. Typically prickly heat rash appears on the forehead, upper back and chest and arms. Prickly heat is not just uncomfortable; it is a sign that the body is not reacting well to heat stress. Consequently, a person prickly heat is at greater risk for heat stroke. Cooling the skin usually makes prickly heat rash disappear. It often causes itching and gets aggravated on the use of oils and ointments.
Small babies and children and the elderly are at risk of prickly heat. So are those in sports or other forms of exercise or manual labor. While prickly heat normally goes in a few days, it can last for weeks if it is hot and humid. A combination of preventative measures and immediate treatment ensure quick recovery.
Prevent prickly heat rash
Keep the affected area cool and dry
In summer, avoid lotions and cosmetics that are oil-based as they will create a warm and moist environment
Stay cool. Do not use antiperspirant lotions or deodorants on the prickly heat rashes
Wear loose-fitting clothes in extremely warm and humid weather to promote better evaporation of perspiration
Keep out of direct sunlight
Maintain good hydration by drinking plenty of water and other fluids
Ensure good rest if you are engaged in physical exertion during the hot day
Be well protected against direct sunlight with sunscreen, hat and protective clothes
In very hot and humid weather, you can avoid saturated fats and foods with high acidity levels. You can consume fish, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Antihistamines are helpful to control itching. Alcohol-based lotions can provide some relief.