Heat Rash

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideHeat Rash Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Heat Rash Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Medical treatment for heat rash

Heat rash resolves on its own once the skin cools, but on occasion the sweat glands can become infected. The signs of infection include pain, increased swelling, and redness that does not resolve. Pustules may form at the site of the rash. This infection occurs because bacteria have invaded the blocked sweat gland. Antibiotic treatment may be required. Chronic and recurrent heat rash may need to be treated by a health care professional or dermatologist (skin specialist).

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. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 11/3/2015
References
Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCES:

Rakel R. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th edition. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier. 2011

WebMD.com. Heat Rash Overview.

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