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Under the microscope: Prickly heat

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child Prickly heat
Ever get an itchy, red rash when you're hot? That's heat rash - also known as prickly heat. Here we look at what causes heat rash and how you can treat it if you get it.

What is prickly heat?

Also known as heat rash, prickly heat is a very itchy rash that usually only happens when the weather gets hot and humid. It often occurs when you sweat more than usual.

What are the symptoms of prickly heat?

Prickly heat forms a rash on your skin made up of tiny spots or bumps and it's usually red.

The rash often looks like a lot of small blisters and might also cause a little swelling, itching and stinging.

Where do I get prickly heat?

Prickly heat can affect any part of your body, but normally flares up underneath clothing because friction makes it worse as you sweat more.

Who is affected by prickly heat?

Both adults and children can get a heat rash, although kids do tend to be more likely to suffer from prickly heat because their sweat glands are as well developed.

What causes prickly heat?

Prickly heat happens when sweat glands become blocked. This often occurs in hot countries, or when there's a sudden change in temperature, because you sweat more than normal.

The more you sweat, the more likely it is that dead skin will collect in your sweat glands and block them.

How do you treat prickly heat?

There's no specific treatment for prickly heat and it's not a serious condition because most heat rashes disappear very quickly - usually within a couple of days.

  • You can apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, depending on how itchy and irritated your skin is. This will ease the soreness and cool your skin down.

  • Try to avoid synthetic clothing like polyester and go for cotton instead. Cotton allows heat to escape and not get trapped under the clothing.
  • Aloe vera gel may help to cure the itchiness

  • Stay out of the heat and get into the shade.

  • Have a shower and cool the skin down.
  • Avoid (where possible) getting sweaty - thiswill just irritate the skin further.




More help and advice



Continued below...


- 10 ways to cool down

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