Nobody likes sweating. It’s uncomfortable and can leave your clothing stained. But there’s also another reason to dislike sweating; prickly heat. Prickly heat, Miliaria Rubra, is a condition where the small sweat ducts become clogged and cause itching. The ducts can actually burst and release the sweat underneath the skin. Since the sweat doesn’t belong under the skin, the skin becomes irritated.
Prickly heat can occur in just about anyone, but small children seem more susceptible because they don’t regulate their perspiration very well at first. When the skin gets irritated, it forms small red bumps. Depending on how severe the rash is, it could be localized to a small area or could become quite large. Since it’s the sweat that causes the rash, areas of the body that generally sweat a lot are the most likely places to have a break out. Usual places are under the arms, breasts, inside of the thighs or anywhere else where clothing or skin might restrict air flow and prevent the sweat from evaporating, thereby keeping it trapped in the ducts
People usually get prickly heat in hot and humid climates where the body tends to sweat frequently and it’s hard to keep dry and cool. It’s not uncommon for people who’ve had prickly heat once to get it again. Those people especially should try to keep out of the heat and try to keep the susceptible areas of their body dry. Baby powder and anti-perspirants might help a bit in reducing the incidence of rashes by keeping the skin dry, but they don’t always work. If the rash gets worse, it may need medication to heal. There are over the counter anti-itch creams to help, but in the worst cases, antibiotics might be needed. A doctor can also prescribe a cream with steroids to help heal the blisters, but some basic preventive methods are generally the first line of defense.
Showering regularly during hot weather or strenuous activity is one way to keep the skin clean and the sweat ducts unclogged. Wearing loose fitting clothing will also help. For babies, the diaper area is a sensitive region, so diapers should be changed as soon as they become wet. If a person gets prickly heat very frequently, the condition could turn into miliaria profunda which means the sweat ducts are totally blocked and the person can’t sweat at all. This can be very serious and lead to heat exhaustion, which is potentially fatal. This condition, however, isn’t very common and with care and preventive measures, most prickly heat rashes will disappear on their own after a few days.