Healthy Living

Heat Rash: What Is Miliaria Rubra?

Miliaria rubra

Heat Rash: What Is Miliaria Rubra?

Key Takeaways

  • It is also known as "prickly heat".
  • It happens when sweat ducts are blocked at the deeper part of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. 
  • This condition mostly affects adults than children.

Heat rash is a skin condition that occurs when sweat ducts get blocked deeper below the skin surface. It mostly occurs when the weather conditions are hot and humid. The condition prevents the sweat produced from escaping and this leads to irritation of the skin.

What is miliaria rubra?

There are several types of heat rashes and miliaria rubra is one of them. It is also known as "prickly heat". It happens when sweat ducts are blocked at the deeper part of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. This condition mostly affects adults than children. Individuals suffering from miliaria rubra may experience the following discomforts:

  • Inflammation of the affected part of the skin
  • Appearance of red spots 
  • Itchy and pricking sensations of the skin
  • No sweat production
  • Slight swelling of the affected area

What causes miliaria rubra?

The condition is usually brought about by excessive sweating, especially during humid weather conditions. The sweat ducts become blocked and sweat is trapped under the skin causing irritation. The affected area reddens and a rash is formed.

Areas that are covered by clothes can also be affected more than the areas that are not. Clothes can trap sweat. Friction between the skin and the clothes combined with the trapped sweat increases chances of having miliaria rubra.

The use of thick creams and lotions can also clog the sweat pores and cause prickly heat. This condition mainly affects the areas of the body where friction mostly occurs - between the thighs and under the armpits.

Will it become worse?

Skin rashes usually fade away and heal after a few days even without any treatment. However, if the symptoms persist even after a few days, it is important that you go see a doctor. A possible skin infection can be characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Presence of pus in the red bumps
  • Increasing pain on the affected area
  • Development of a fever and chills

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment of heat rashes involves the use of sprays and creams that contain hydrocortisone. They can be bought from over-the-counter pharmacies. In situations where the sweat glands are infected, antibiotics can be administered. Furthermore, it is easy to prevent heat rash through the following ways:

  • Wear loose clothing so as to give your skin space for breathing. Avoid clothes made of synthetic fibres since they can trap heat. You can also put on clothes that absorb moisture so that the sweat produced is absorbed; thus, minimizing the chances of getting a heat rash.
  • Avoid using thick creams and lotions that may clog your skin pores.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room, especially during summer when the temperature is high. This will prevent your skin from overheating.
  • Avoid using soaps with dyes or fragrances as they can dry your skin.
  • Drink a lot of water in order to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather conditions.
  • Take cool showers to help keep the skin cool and to prevent sweating.
  • Use lotions that contain calamine, which can help sooth the areas affected by heat rashes.

Bottom Line

Miliaria rubra is a simple skin condition that can easily be avoided if the above guidelines are followed. However, if the condition persists, avoid staying at hot places within a few days.