Prickly Heat: Treatments, Causes and symptoms

Prickly HeatPrickly Heat

What is Prickly Heat?

Prickly Heat is a common problem faced by children and some adults living or working in hot and humid conditions. It is common in tropical region in summer. Prickly heat is otherwise called Heat rash or Miliaria Rubra.

What is the pathology (cause) of Prickly Heat?

Prickly heat is caused by the blockage of sweat ducts in the prickle layer of the skin. Because of the blockage, sweat cannot reach the surface of the skin to be evaporated, but collects in the epidermal layer of the skin and cause irritation and inflammation.

What triggers Prickly Heat?

Hot and humid conditions where there is excessive sweating cause prickly heat. Wearing tight fitting, Synthetic clothing which prevent evaporation of sweat also produce prickly heat. Obese or overweight people having skin folds develop prickly heat. In infants and children prickly heat is common because their sweat glands are not fully developed. Using lot of creams and makeup or drinking hot spicy soups, hot coffee or tea in summer can lead to prickly heat. Working or exercising in hot humid condition can also produce prickly heat.

What are the symptoms of Prickly Heat?

Prickly Heat appears as small red dots on the skin. Mostly they appear on face, neck, shoulder and front and back of chest. They also appear in parts of the body which come into close contact with clothing like waist and wrist.

Prickly Heat lesions give pricking sensation which is very irritating. This causes great discomfort. If the area is scratched, it can lead to infection.

What are the treatments for Prickly Heat?

Wash the area with cold water and pat dry the area frequently. Take cold bath often. Using mild soap with hexachlorophene may help.  Applying lanoline may help. If the itching or irritation is severe taking antihistamines may help.

Natural treatment for Prickly Heat

Prickly heat disappears naturally when the weather condition improves.

Change the living or working environment and stay in cool and well ventilated rooms. If possible stay in air conditioned rooms. Use loose cotton dress. Avoid synthetic cloths. Drink lot of fruit juices and water. Avoid aerated bottled drinks, hot spicy soups, alcohol, hot coffee or tea in hot humid conditions. Take frequent cold baths.

COLD (ICE) TREATMENT: Wash the prickly heat affected area with ice cold water often.

Take few ice cubes, wrap then in cloth and press it on the affected area. This gives instant relief from itching and pricking sensation. Mix honey, aloe vera gel and water, pour it in a ice tray, allow it to become ice cubes and press these ice cubes on the affected area for instant relief.

SANDAL WOOD POWDER: Mix sandal wood powder with rose water or water and apply over the heat rash affected area, wash it after 30 minutes and pat dry the area.

TURMERIC POWDER: Mix turmeric powder in water and apply over the prickly heat affected area and wash it off after 20 minutes. Sandal wood powder can also be added to this for better results. Turmeric acts as good antiseptic and anti inflammatory agent.

YOGHURT:  Apply yoghurt over the heat rash affected area and wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes. This gives a soothing and cooling effect.

MILK: Applying cold milk over the prickly heat affected area can also give good results. Milk act as good cooling and cleansing agent.

NEEM LEAVES: Neem leaf has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Applying ground neem leaves paste over the prickly heat affected area and washing if after 20 minutes gives good results.

CUCUMBER: Apply cucumber slices or cucumber juice over the heat rash affected area and wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes.

POTATO: Likewise potato slices or ground potato can also be applied.

BAKING SODA:  To 1 cup of water add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, soak a cotton cloth in it, apply it on the prickly heat affected area and wash it off after 15 minutes. Baking soda unclogs pores and acts as exfoliating agent.

PAPAYA: Apply papaya fruit slices over the prickly heat affected area and wash it off with cold water after 20 minutes.

OATES: Oates powder can be mixed with cold water or milk and, applied over the prickly heat affected area and washed after 20 minutes. Oates meal reduces itching and acts as good anti-inflammatory agent.

After washing the prickly heat affected area pat dry the area. Do not rub the area with towel.

If prickly heat is infected consult a dermatologist and start antibiotics.

Headaches: Causes, types, and treatment

head ache remedy

Headache

Headache is the common symptoms experienced by more than 50% people worldwide.

Headache is one of the problems that give headache to the treating physician because of the multiple types and multiple causes.

What is a Cause of headache?

Headache is the ache(pain) arising from structures and tissues around the brain and skull like eyes, sinuses, ear, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and spinal cord. Brain itself cannot feel pain.

Headache can also be a symptom of some other serious condition or disease.

Headache is three times more common in women than men.

What are the types of headache?

There are many varieties of headache and lots of subtypes.

The most common types of headache are Tension Headache, Migraine and Cluster Headache.

Tension Headache

Tension headache is usually bilateral (both sided) and it is not pulsatile. It is a dull ache felt all over the head.  Tenderness may be felt around the scalp muscle and neck. There is no associated nausea or vomiting. Scalp muscle tenderness may be present. Tension headache is often triggered by mental stress.

Stress relief, antidepressants, analgesics and gentle massage may help to reduce the pain.

Migraine

Migraine is a miserable form of headache normally affects one side of the head. Migraine is usually associated with nausea and vomiting. An aura (seeing flash of light, blind spots, stars or zig zac lines ) may precede the ache. Migraine can occur without aura also. Migraine headache may be throbbing and may be worsened by routine activities

Migraine is due to disturbance in the brains vascular tree. Dilatation of blood vessels produces pain due to stretching of the arterial wall. Migraine may be triggered by flashing light, anxiety, stress, exercise, menstruation, oral contraceptives, chocolate, artificial sweetener, mono sodium glutamate (agino moto) and alcoholic drinks.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headache is the most disabling type of headache. It is characterized by sudden onset of excruciating pain around or behind one eye. The eye may become bloodshot, watery and lacrimating and may have eye lid swelling.  Cluster headache usually starts at night and lasts for few minutes to hours. One headache will resolve and another will follow. It comes in cluster for few weeks followed by headache free period of months. Cluster headache is more common in men than women.

Other Types of headache

Sudden single attacks

Patients can have acute headache for short period in conditions like head injury, fevers, sinusitis, meningitis, encephalitis, bleeding in side skull like subarachnoid haemorrhage, sudden increase or decrease in blood pressure and over straining can also produce headache.

Increased intra cranial pressure, tumors of brain, decreased CSF pressure after lumbar puncture or spinal anesthesia can also produce headache.

Referred headache

Infections of eye, glaucoma, refraction errors and over strain to eyes may give headache.

Dental conditions, diseases of the nose and sinuses, diseases of ear and cervical spondylosis can also produce headache.

Headache due to condition in nerves

Conditions in cranial nerves can produce headache like Trigeminal neuralgia, Glossopharyngeal neuralgia and Temporomandibular neuralgia can produce headache.

Psychogenic headache

Conditions like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and hysteria can produce headache. They are of pressing type, continuous and severe. The headache are not relieved by analgesics.

Vascular headache

Throbbing headache increases on movement of the head.

Hypnic headache

Usually affects elderly people at night and wake them up during sleep.

Hangover Headache

Drinking too much alcohol at night may produce throbbing headache next morning. Drinking lots of juices and eating sugary food to reduce the headache.

Rebound Headache

Taking too many medicines regularly for headache, becoming dependent on the medicines and suddenly stopping the drugs may produce rebound headache.

Caffeine Headache

Drinking lots of coffee daily and withdrawing  coffee suddenly cal alter the brain chemistry and trigger headache.

Ice cream Headache

Drinking Ice cold drinks or eating very cold ice cream can stimulate the nerve ends in soft palate and produce headache.

Hormonal Headache

Pregnancy, menstruation or taking birth control pills can alter the hormone levels and produce headache.

Investigations for Headaches

Detailed history of the Headache, the type of headache and associated symptoms will give a clear idea about the investigations to be done.

X-rays of skull, Para nasal sinuses and cervical spine will give evidence regarding the headache.

CT scan or MRI scan of brain may be necessary to rule out intracranial causes.

Ophthalmic, ENT (Ear, nose and throat), and dental examinations will rule out referred pain from these organs.

Psychiatric assessment is also necessary.

How do you get rid of a headache?

It is better to consult your physician than taking over the counter medications.

Rest, gentile massage, breathing exercises, warm or cold compress and stress busters will relive headache.

Medications like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aceclofenac and Paracetamol can be given to reduce headache.

In migraine Triptans and Ergot alkaloids will relieve pain.  Flunarizine, propranolol or amitriptyline can prevent migraine attack.

Treat the cause in referred headache.

Prevention

Removing triggers, avoiding stress, positive attitude, yoga and meditation will prevent headache.