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Prickly heat, also known as miliaria, is the body's response to excess heat and sweat, which leads to the appearance of small red bumps on the skin that cause itching and burning, being more frequent on the face, neck, back, chest and thighs.
Prickly heat rash is not serious and tends to disappear naturally, it is only recommended to keep the skin clean and dry to avoid increased irritation.
Prickly heat occurs when the sweat glands become blocked and the body sweats more than usual. Therefore, prickly heat is very common in babies, especially newborns because they still have poorly developed sweat glands, and it can also appear in adults, especially when the weather is very hot or when you have a high fever.Learn about other causes of red spots on the skin.
The most common symptoms of prickly heat are:
- Small spots on the skin, similar to pimples;
- Red spots on the skin;
- Itching and burning sensation;
- Slight swelling of the skin.
Prickly heat rash can appear anywhere on the body and can sometimes spread to various body regions. However, prickly heat is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of prickly heat is usually easily confirmed by a dermatologist by observing the symptoms and evaluating the person's history.
When prickly heat appears very frequently, the dermatologist may recommend performing a skin biopsy to assess whether there is a more specific skin problem that needs treatment.
What causes heat rash
Prickly heat is caused by an inflammation of the sweat glands that can happen due to:
- Immaturity of the glands, in newborns;
- Very hot and humid environment;
- Very intense physical activity;
- High fever.
In addition, people who are using occlusive dressings on the skin can also develop prickly heat in the region of the skin where the dressing is stuck, as it makes it difficult for the skin to breathe.
How the treatment is done
There is no specific treatment for prickly heat, as it tends to disappear naturally. However, to relieve symptoms such as itching and irritation, it is important to adopt some precautions such as:
- Avoid sun exposure;
- Use a fan at home;
- Wear fresh, loose-fitting, cotton clothes;
- Take a bath in lukewarm/cold water and use a neutral soap, without fragrances or dyes;
- Let the skin dry naturally, without using a towel;
- Apply cold compresses to the affected areas;
- Avoid using creams or perfumes.
In addition, the doctor may also prescribe the use of soothing creams, such as lotions with calamine, or antihistamine ointments, such as Polaramine or Profergan. See how to treat prickly heat with natural remedies.