Rashes are among the most common skin conditions, arising from a number of causes, both environmental and internal. When the body detects a foreign substance or sudden change, the skin may react and form a rash. There are many types of rashes, some more bothersome and detrimental than others, but they’re often noticeable, making skin appear red, scaly, and bumpy.
Heat rash is one of the more common skin rashes, affecting people of all ages. Here we’ll discuss what causes heat rash, what symptoms are associated with heat rash, and how to treat it, specifically in bed rest patients.
As its name implies, heat is the main cause of heat rash (also known as miliaria). Within our skin are sweat glands, which activate as our body temperature rises, releasing heat through our skin’s pores in the form of perspiration. If something blocks those pores, the sweat cannot evaporate and instead gets trapped in our skin. Our body then loses its main mechanism for cooling down, and this excess heat can cause skin irritation in the form of heat rash.
In general, infants may experience heat rash more often than adults due to underdeveloped sweat ducts. But heat rash still affects adults with fully developed sweat glands through other means. Living in a hot, humid climate naturally increases the risk of this type of skin rash. Anything that restricts or clogs one’s pores, such as tight clothing or certain lotions, may also cause heat rash. Physical activity which causes excess sweating can also lead to heat rash. On the other hand, heat rash can also arise in bed rest patients with fevers.
Because there is more than one kind of heat rash, symptoms may vary depending on the cause and severity of the rash, as well as the age and condition of the patient. Generally speaking, however, all types of heat rash can be easily seen by the appearance of reddened, bumpy skin, often near the neck, shoulders, chest, armpits, and groin. Like most rashes, heat rash will feel itchy and mildly painful or irritating.
Heat rash might not be a major problem on its own but it can lead to more serious complications if left unchecked, especially if it covers a large portion of skin. If the body retains a high temperature for too long, heat cramps or heatstroke may occur. Additionally, heat rash can lead to skin infection from exposure to bacteria. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on heat rash when it occurs and to seek help from a medical professional if it lingers, spreads, or worsens.
Milder forms of heat rash typically go away on their own once the skin has managed to cool down. This process can be sped up by removing sweaty, tight-fitting clothing, entering a cooler, less humid environment, or taking a cool shower or bath. More severe cases of heat rash may require a topical ointment or steroid to reduce inflammation, and infections may require antibiotic treatment.
Bed rest patients may have a hard time properly cooling their body down, making heat rash treatment slightly more complicated than it might be in other patients. When a patient requires bed rest, it is often due to a disease accompanied by a fever. This fever increases the body’s temperature, which may lead to heat rash. In order to get rid of the heat rash, then, the patient’s fever must be reduced or eliminated so the body can cool down. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce fever, and drinking fluids can help, too. In some cases, however, the underlying disease must be cured or treated before the fever can subside and the heat rash can fully go away.
Everyone lives in their own skin. So, when something happens to your skin, you want the right treatment for your unique case. Whether you need more detailed advice on how to treat a rash or other skin condition, it’s always best to seek counsel from medical professionals who can give you the attention and care you require. At Premier Dermatology Partners, we are prepared to provide advice and treatment for patients who want healthier, more beautiful skin. Our staff of medical professionals specializes in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.
To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us today.