Heat Rash (cont.)

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How can heat rash be prevented?

Prevention is the most important treatment for heat rash; by allowing the skin to be exposed to circulating air, the potential for sweat ducts to become blocked and the glands to become inflamed decreases.

Other strategies to prevent heat rash include:

  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather
  • Wear loose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton
  • Use air conditioning
  • Keep the skin clean with frequent baths or showers to prevent sweat glands from becoming clogged
  • Reduce the amount of overlapping skin-on-skin (fat or weight loss)

How effective are electric fans in preventing heat rash?

Keeping the skin cool on hot days is an important preventive measure. Air circulation (with fans or by other methods) usually will help with skin cooling. It is important not to bundle newborns and infants too tightly so that air can get to the skin, but it also is important to keep them warm enough.

It is important to move individuals who are immobile (for example, some elderly, those with paralysis, or are weak) so all parts of the body can be exposed to fresh air and help prevent tissue breakdown.

How can people protect their health when temperatures are extremely high?

The body can adapt very well in hot weather, but it takes time to acclimate. The actual temperature is just one factor when a person decides to work, play, or exercise in the heat. The heat index adds humidity to the equation since sweat cannot evaporate if the water content in the air (humidity) is high. If the air holds as much water as it can there is no place for sweat to go, and evaporation cannot cool the body.

To minimize the risk of  heat-related illnesses, try to avoid working or exercising in extreme heat. Avoid dehydration and other complications by taking frequent breaks to get out of the heat, and drinking plenty of water or other fluids to replenish fluid lost through sweat.

Early signs of heat-related illnesses include lightheadedness, weakness, and nausea. It is important to get out of the heat, cool off, and rehydrate immediately to avoid severe heat-related problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

To calculate the heat index in your area, check out the U.S. Army's Heat Index Calculator.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/22/2014

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