Tips to Heal and Prevent Heat Rash

Overheating can occur from exposure to extreme heat, which often leads to heat rash. This can happen on hot summer days, but also at any other time of year. For example: when people wear too many layers in cold weather. Regardless of the outside temperature, heat rash occurs when sweat becomes trapped under the surface of the skin. It develops red, inflamed bumps known as prickly heat or miliaria.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent and treat overheating:

  • When layering clothing, wear breathable, loose-fitting fabrics such as cotton.
  • Don’t scratch any bumps that develop. This could cause them to swell and get infected.
  • After bathing—preferably in cold or cool water—let your skin air-dry or simply pat it dry instead of toweling off.
  • Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream are helpful to soothe a heat rash. Avoid oil-based products and heavy creams, which may block your sweat glands.
  • Infants are especially at risk because they aren’t able to regulate their body temperature. Monitor their heat exposure closely and ensure they stay comfortable.
  • While a heat rash itself isn’t typically a medically serious condition, you should seek immediate medical care if other symptoms present themselves simultaneously. Examples include a high fever (101 or above), extreme dehydration, rapid heart rate or rapid breathing, and confusion or abnormal forgetfulness.
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