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.