How to treat prickly heat rash this summer

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Our resident pharmacist reveals the best products to try for this itchy summer affliction.

By Rita Ghelani

Covered in itchy bumps after a day in the sun? Sounds like you might have a case of heat rash. If you’ve been safe in the sun and still find yourself covered in a red rash, it can be frustrating. Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani offers her expert advice on managing this uncomfortable skin condition:

What is heat rash?

Heat rash, sometimes referred to as prickly heat rash, consists of tiny raised spots that can look like small blisters surrounded by red skin. The skin may also feel as if it is stinging or prickly.

What causes heat rash?

Heat rash develops when you sweat more than usual and the excess sweat gets trapped inside the skin. Although heat rashes are more commonly seen during hot, humid weather, you may experience it in winter.

Heat rashes often occur in areas of the body that are have folds of skin, for example armpits, groin, under the breasts, around the neck. These areas don’t have as much air circulating on the skin and this prevents sweat from evaporating.

What’s the best treatment for heat rash?

To help soothe itching try the following products:

  • You can apply calamine lotion or aqueous calamine cream which is easier to apply.
  • Applying a little hydrocortisone cream twice a day for two or three days can help to relieve itchingand reduce redness.
  • Taking an antihistamine will help to ease the itching associated with heat rash – try Benadryl capsules or Pirition tablets.

Self-help tips for heat rash

Try the following tips to minimise the itch and keep your cool:

✔️ Keeping the skin cool so it doesn’t sweat is the best way to help heal heat rash.

✔️ Wear loose cotton or linen clothes, avoid tight fitting clothing made of synthetic fibres which can trap sweat in the skin.

✔️ Use light bedding.

✔️ Take cool showers or soak in a cool bath.

✔️ Apply a cold wet flannel or an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the heat rash.

✔️ Avoid scratching the rash as much as possible – tap or pat the rash if it itches.

Net Doctor

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