What to Know About Heat Rashes

Heat rash is sometimes called miliaria, this is a harmless but very itchy skin rash with small red spots in places where sweat collects, such as the armpits, back, under the breasts, chest, groin, crooks of elbows and knees, and the waist. This happens when your body sweats more than usual, so it’s usual to get it during the summer months or whilst on holiday in a hot climate. It is caused by a blockage and inflammation of sweat ducts in heat and high humidity. Miliaria is common in newborn babies as their sweat glands haven’t developed properly yet. Symptoms of heat rash last two to three days and generally clear up without any further treatment. However, you will need treatment if the rash gets infected.

Heat rash is a common skin rash that occurs when there is increased sweating under warm, humid conditions. It is caused by blockage of the sweat glands. It most commonly appears as small red bumps, sometimes looking like little blisters, within the skin. The skin may feel prickly when touched. The rash most commonly develops on the neck, upper chest, and back and in skin folds. Heat rash usually clears by keeping the affected area cooler.

What is heat rash?

There are a few types of heat rash, but the most common is called miliaria rubra, or “prickly heat.” It occurs when there is a lot of sweating and blockage of the sweat glands. This most often occurs during hot weather. However, it can also result from being overdressed, especially in babies, or from fevers. Miliaria rubra is a harmless rash that clears up quickly.

What does it look like?

Little red bumps appear on the skin, sometimes looking like small blisters or pimples. The skin often feels prickly when touched. The rash may be a little itchy—but otherwise, there are no other symptoms. The rash most commonly occurs in body creases or places where clothes rub up against the skin. Common sites include the neck, diaper area, armpit, upper back, and chest. Another form of heat rash, called “miliaria crystallina,” occurs most often in newborns. This rash looks like tiny, clear blisters (not red) that break easily. Heat rash goes away within a few days, especially after keeping the area cooler.

What increases your risk of heat rash?

Excessive exposure to high temperatures and humidity.
Wearing too many heavy clothes for the weather (even on cold days).

How is heat rash treated?

Usually, cooling your down is all the treatment needed. On hot days, get out of the heat and into an air-conditioned room, if possible. Remove any excess clothing. A cool compress (a washcloth soaked in cool water) can be helpful. No need to put anything on the skin—for example, lotions or creams. These may actually make the rash worse by contributing to blockage of the sweat glands.
The rash should clear up within a few days. If not, see a doctor. Heat rash can develop in people of all ages. How you treat your heat rash depends on the type you have. There are two kinds of heat rash:

Treating Heat Rash in Folds of the Skin

Moisture is the enemy when intertrigo heat rash forms in folds or creases in the skin. As the skin moves and rubs against itself, it becomes raw and irritated and may exhibit chafing. Moisture makes the irritation worse and inflammation develops. There are some problem areas that are prone to friction heat rashes: under the breasts, armpits, fat rolls, between the thighs, between the toes and between the butt cheeks. The rash can be acute or chronic. To add insult to injury, raw skin is vulnerable to infections from fungus, yeast, or bacteria. The heat and the moisture make those same folds of the skin perfect places to grow all three. If the infection has developed, the rash is more likely to be just on one side and asymmetrical. If it is inflammatory, it will tend to affect areas symmetrically, such as under both breasts or in both armpits.

Treating Heat Rash Caused by Friction

Treatment for heat rashes caused by friction is based on reducing friction and reducing moisture. Babies are prone to these types of heat rashes because they have cute little fat rolls and diapers, which trap moisture. This is what is called a diaper rash . Using baby powder and letting them go without a diaper works for babies, and those tactics can work for adults as well. If a friction heat rash gets infected, it may be time to see the doctor. Some infections are very common, such as athlete’s foot or a yeast infection . Others are less common but can be even more dangerous, like a staph or MRSA infection .

Treating Prickly Heat

The other type of heat rash is called prickly heat (miliaria). Sweat can’t escape through blocked ducts, causing lots of little skin bumps. Prickly heat is found mostly on the legs, chest, arms, and back. It’s often made worse by being covered up. Treatment for prickly heat is all about cooling off.


Preventing either kind of heat rash involves the same tips recommended for treatment. In other words, whatever works to make a heat rash better is likely to prevent it in the first place. Use baby powder or chafing-preventing lubricants in areas prone to intertrigo. Keep cool to prevent prickly heat.

If the heat rash symptoms have not cleared off after 3 to 4 day, please consult a physician. It is possible the rash might be Infected.

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