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Prickly Heat - Heat Rash

Updated on May 17, 2010

Heat rash is also known as miliaria or prickly heat. Prickly heat is an itchy reddish rash that can appear during anytime of the year but is rather more common to appear during the hotter months. Prickly heat or heat rash occurs when sweat glands have become blocked and can be caused by extreme sweating, hot climate, long term bed rest, wearing excessive clothing and/or resting too close or near an open fire or some other form of inside heating.

Heat rash or prickly heat can appear on any part of the human body but can be commonly found on parts of the body that are most often covered by clothing. For example the abdomen, armpits, back, groin, chest neck, legs, arms, groin area, hands and feet as well as on the buttocks.

It is very common for young children and babies to end up with prickly heat or heat rash as their sweat glands are not yet fully developed at a young age but just to make sure a rash is not related to meningitis, the glass test is always advisable when it comes to any form of a rash on a child. The glass test is very simple. Simply take a clear glass and press it onto the rash. If the rash disappears, then the rash is not related to meningitis.

If an itchy rash appears and you are concerned, it is advisable to seek professional medical advice. Prickly heat is not a serious condition and often dissappears by itself after a few days or a week.

There are a few things you can do to help ease the itchiness and other symptoms which are gently cleaning the area with distilled cool water and cotton wool, stay cool, wear loose clothing (preferably cotton type fabrics) and use either calamine lotion or a reputable hydro-cortisone cream. If the rash is still apparent after a week or you are experiencing other symptoms like nausea or headaches then it is necessary to visit your local GP or walk in medical center.


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