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Heat rash

Heat rash is an itchy rash of small red spots that cause a stinging or prickling feeling on the skin. Sometimes it’s called prickly heat.

The heat rash can be anywhere on the body, but typically people get it on their face, chest, back and thighs.

It is caused by sweat glands becoming blocked, so people usually get the rash if they are sweating more than usual. This could be because of hot or humid weather or because they’re wearing too many clothes, which irritate the rash more by rubbing it. The trapped sweat irritates the skin and produces the rash.

Heat rash is not serious. It usually goes away after a few days so it doesn’t need medical treatment.

Watch our video - heat rash

What to look for - heat rash

If you think someone has heat rash, these are the four things to look for:

  1. 1. Itching
  2. 2. Rash of tiny red spots
  3. 3. Mild swelling
  4. 4. Prickling or burning feeling

What you need to do - heat rash

• If they have these symptoms, you can explain that the rash is not serious but give them tips on how to soothe the itching and avoid getting heat rash in the future.

• Suggest they take a cold bath or shower to cool their skin and help prevent further sweating.

• They can also buy calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream which will help soothe the itching.

• Recommend they wear loose clothing made of cotton, as cotton doesn’t trap heat as much as synthetic fibres, like nylon and polyester.

• Tell them to drink plenty of water to stop them getting dehydrated.

• And suggest they avoid excessive heat or humidity, by staying out of the sun and not sitting too close to a fire or heater, for instance.

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