Heat Rash or pricks are normal in temperate countries that suffer from hot sun and humid climes. With summer and hot weather on, many of us suffer from heat rash.

Heat Rash is a common condition in which certain areas of the skin itch or prick or sting intensely due to exposure to heat. ’Miliaria’ or prickly heat rash usually occurs in covered parts of the skin especially where there is friction of clothing; in parts such as back, abdomen, neck, upper chest, armpits and groin.

Heat rash is a blister-like eruption, which usually lasts for 3 - 7 days. It usually goes away on its own. Normally nobody sees a doctor for heat rash during early stages. Prickly heat rash is treated with external mode of applications. Doctors prescribe smoothening lotions, Vitamin A and C supplements. Antibiotics are prescribed only in extreme stages.

Heat rash can occur to anybody irrespective of age and sex. However, it is most commonly seen in young children and active people who suffer from excess sweat in hot humid environment.

The best defense against heat rash is prevention. Certain simple steps can be taken to prevent this ’thorn of summer’.

Do ’s:

■ Wear a hat; use an umbrella to block the UV sunrays when going out.

■ Wear lightweight cotton clothes that are not tight and constricting.

■ Light coloured clothes that reflect heat and sun are preferred.

■ Use air-conditioner, fan and ventilator to provide cool humid room temperature.

■ Have at least two baths or showers in tepid water every day. Water conducts heat away from the body.

■ Maintain personal hygiene; the secret lies in keeping the body clean and cool.

■ Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

■ Take plenty of fruits, salads, and vegetables. Consuming fruits with high water content helps the body during muggy summer days. Watermelon - the fruit of summer is available aplenty and it is an ideal coolant for the body. Pineapple, lemon, orange and apple can also be taken.

■ Eat in small quantities throughout the day; as this helps in digestion.

■ Vitamin A and C supplements for healthy skin can also be consumed.

■ Keep the affected areas dry. Use dusting powder or talcum powder made for soothing comfort

Don’ts:

■ Avoid overexposure to the ultra violet rays of the sun, by not going out during peak afternoon.

■Sunscreen of SPF 15 must be applied when stepping outdoors.

■Avoid synthetic and tight fitting clothes.

■Wash off the sweat so that salty deposits can be done away with.

■Avoid oily, fatty, spicy food.

■Avoid crowded and congested places.

■While treating heat rash, avoid ointments or creams that keep the skin warm and moist as they worsen the condition.

Summer is the time of the year when skin needs extra care. Make small changes to your skin care routine and you can enjoy the lazy summer days. Keep heat rash at bay!

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