A heat rash is a condition that is very common and will cause a stinging or prickly feeling in your skin due to overheating it. Heat rash appears as small bumps on your skin surrounded by red areas. It is usually underneath clothes areas of your body such as your upper chest, back, abdomen, neck, groin or armpits and will go away shortly after the area is cooled. It is a common, non-serious condition, though it can sometimes warrant a doctor visit when it is chronic or doesn’t go away on its own.
Cause of Heat Rash
Most often, heat rash is caused by living in a hot, humid climate. It is more common in infants, though children or adults who are very active may also get heat rash. Other risk factors include infants in incubators and patients who are bedridden with a fever. It usually begins with excessive perspiration from being out in a hot, humid climate. The ducts in the sweat glands of the skin can become blocked which causes the sweat to go into the surrounding tissue which causes redness and irritation. This leads to a burning, stinging, or prickly sensation.
Types of Heat Rash
There are three main types of heat rash, each of which has its own signs and symptoms. The first is called miliaria crystalline which is the less severe form of heat rash and is on the topmost layer of the skin. This includes redness of the skin along with clear blisters or bumps that break easily but are not painful or itchy. The next type is miliaria rubra which is on the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, and also called prickly heat. Symptoms of miliaria rubra include a prickly feeling, itching, and little to no sweating in the area with the rash. Lastly there is miliaria profunda which is the less common but most severe type of heat rash. This will affect the deeper layer of skin and include symptoms like flesh-colored lesions on the skin that look like goose bumps, dizziness, rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, and lack of perspiration.
When to call a Doctor
For the most part, heat rash will go away on its own without many treatment requirements. However, there are some situations where you should call your doctor and seek medical attention. If the rash lasts for more than a few days without relief, if there is pus draining from the lesions, you have increased swelling, redness, warmth or pain, fever or chills, or swollen and tender lymph nodes in your neck, groin or armpit, seek medical attention.