Heat rash is a skin condition that results when perspiration gets trapped beneath the surface of the skin due to clogged pores (sweat ducts). While it is more common among infants, heat rash can affect adults as well, especially in hot, humid weather. This annoying rash is also called prickly heat, or miliaria.
What Are the Different Types of Heat Rash?
There are several forms of heat rash. Each differs depending on the depth of the affected sweat gland(s).
1. Superficial sweat ducts that become blocked typically result in the mildest form, called miliaria crystallina. This form may feature clear, fluid-filled blisters (papules).
2. Another form that affects somewhat deeper sweat glands is often called “prickly heat,” or miliaria rubra. In this instance, red papules develop that are typically itchy or prickly feeling.
3. Sometimes, the fluid-filled sacs become inflamed, resulting in a third form of heat rash known as miliaria pustulosa.
4. A rare, fourth form involves glands leaking into the lower layers of the skin (the dermis). This form is called miliaria profunda. Goose bump-like, flesh-colored lesions typically accompany this form of heat rash.
What Does Heat Rash Look Like?
Heat rash may appear as blisters on the surface of the skin. Sometimes, these blisters may appear as deep, red bumps. These bumps may be markedly itchy, or feel prickly, and they may contain clear fluid.
Among adults, heat rash tends to develop where clothing rubs the skin and causes friction or in the folds of the skin. Among newborns, heat rash is common on the neck, shoulders, and chest. But it may also occur in the creases of the elbows, armpits, or groin.
How Do You Treat Heat Rash?
Heat rash generally clears up on its own, especially if you can cool the skin and avoid the need to sweat. The best way to cool down and stop sweating, of course, is to spend time in a cool, air-conditioned indoor environment. Try switching to cool, loose-fitting clothing and staying in the shade if you cannot readily retreat indoors.
When to Visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care for Heat Rash
Cooling off and eliminating the need to sweat are often sufficient to resolve this rash. If symptoms persist for more than a few days, though, it may be time to seek medical attention. You should also seek attention if symptoms worsen, or if signs of infection emerge.
Signs of possible infection include warmth, swelling, redness, pain or tenderness at the site of the rash. Other potential signs of infection include pus draining from lesions, swollen lymph nodes, or fever and/or chills.
If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of heat rash or infection of the rash, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is open 7 days/week with extended hours to help. If your rash is the result of over-exertion in the heat, our experienced team will assess the symptoms and recommend the best treatment options. Contact us at 1.855.349.2828, or stop in today for a convenient, walk-in visit. If you’re looking to save time, find a location near you and check in online today!