Heat rash is the collective name for skin problems that result from exposure to heat or humidity. Commonly referred to as prickly heat or miliaria, heat rash is particularly prevalent during the summer months and when the climate is humid.
Miliaria is the medical term for the heat-induced rash that can develop following exposure to heat and/or humidity. The rash may form anywhere on the body, but typically, tiny, pink, red or clear bumps develop on areas such as the neck, face, groin, back, elbow folds, buttocks and underneath the breasts.
Miliaria is caused by particles of sweat becoming lodged within the skin, rather than flowing from the sweat glands to the skin’s outer surface. Human sweat tends to irritate the skin and once trapped, can cause inflammation, redness and itching around sweat pores. The condition is very common among infants, but can also affect adults, particularly after exposure to heat and humidity that may cause sweating.
Most cases of miliaria either resolve independently, without treatment being required, or clear up after about one day spent in a cool environment. In rare cases, medication may be prescribed.
Some of the recommendations for the treatment of miliaria are described below.
Wearing nothing may make a person feel cooler, but sweat can still accumulate in skin folds. Light, breathable garments made of cotton can help prevent contact between skin folds. Wearing shorts and tops with short sleeves may be helpful. Garments made of polyester or nylon should be avoided.