Health Skin rash

Wprickly heat? hat is

When the temperature soars some people develop a rash called prickly heat. But what is it exactly and how can your pharmacist help?

When the weather is hot and humid, some people develop a skin rash called prickly heat. Also known as heat rash – or miliaria rubra – prickly heat can be uncomfortable, causing little raised red spots that cause a stinging or prickling feeling in the skin. The rash is caused by the body’s

sweat glands becoming blocked. When your skin is hot you may sweat more than usual, and the sweat can become trapped beneath your skin. This makes your skin irritated and causes a red and mildly inflamed rash. Prickly heat can affect anyone of any

age and can appear anywhere on the body. It usually affects the face, neck, back, chest and thighs, and tends to develop after you’ve been exposed to hot temperatures for a few days. The symptoms are often worse in parts of your skin that are covered by clothes, since clothes can make you sweat more and may also cause friction (rubbing). But it’s not just a summer problem –

you can develop prickly heat at other times of year too, particularly whenever you wear too many clothes or sit too close to a fire or heater.

How your pharmacist

can help Prickly heat isn’t serious and the rash usually disappears after a few days without any treatment. However, if you

46 All About health

or your child develops it, speak to your local Careway pharmacist, as they can offer you advice and recommend treatments that may help relieve your symptoms. These treatments include:

• Calamine lotion to cool and soothe your skin.

• Hydrocortisone cream to treat itching and irritation (avoid using this on your face, always follow your pharmacist’s instructions).

• Antihistamine tablets to reduce itching (speak to your GP or pharmacist before taking these, as they aren’t suitable for everyone).

Meanwhile, if your child has a rash and your worried about it, see your GP. Prickly heat is common in babies because they can’t control their body temperature as well as adults and older children. But if you’re not sure what type of rash your child has, it’s important to get help from a health professional. Also if your rash hasn’t improved

after a few days, ask your pharmacist for advice or see your GP.

To find your nearest Careway pharmacy, visit

Prickly heat tips

Keeping your skin cool can help prevent prickly heat as well as treat the symptoms. Here’s what you can do:

• Try to avoid excessive heat and humidity whenever possible. If you can, spend some time each day in an air-conditioned room whenever it’s hot.

• Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.

• Wear loose cotton clothes and avoid man-made fibres that trap heat more than natural ones.

• Use lightweight bedding to keep you cool at night.

• Take cool baths or showers to soothe your skin and prevent further sweating.

• Avoid using perfumed bath products, shower gels or creams.

• Try using a cold compress on the affected areas – use a damp cloth or some ice wrapped in a tea towel – but don’t leave it on the skin for longer than 20 minutes.

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