Prickly heat

Prickly heat

Prickly heat or miliaria is a small red rash that stands out , feels itchy, and causes a stinging or stinging sensation on the skin. This disorder, also known as heat rash, can occur not only in babies, but also in adults.

Prickly heat occurs more easily in babies, because the baby's body temperature regulation is not perfect and the baby's sweat glands are not fully developed. As a result, the skin has not been able to sweat properly. Prickly heat in babies most often appears on the body, neck and chest.

Causes of prickly heat

Prickly heat is caused by a rash and inflammation due to blockage of the sweat glands. However, it is not known exactly why the sweat glands are clogged.

There are several factors that can increase the risk of prickly heat, namely:

  • Tropical
    climate Climate and hot and humid weather are the main triggers of prickly heat.
  • Overheating
    can trigger clogged sweat glands that cause prickly heat. Some conditions that can cause overheating are wearing clothes that are too thick or sleeping with a thick blanket when the temperature is hot.
  • Certain physical activities Certain
    activities or sports that cause the body to sweat a lot can trigger prickly heat.
  • Underdeveloped sweat glands Sweat
    glands in babies are not fully developed so sweat is more easily trapped in the skin. Therefore, prickly heat is more common in babies.
  • Obesity
    Someone who is overweight ( obese ) is more at risk of prickly heat, especially in areas of skin folds, such as the stomach, neck, and groin.
  • Bed rest ( bed rest ) for too long
    Patients who have bed rest for a long time, especially those who have a fever, are more at risk of experiencing prickly heat.

Symptoms and Types of Prickly Heat

Prickly heat is a non-contagious condition. This condition generally occurs when a person is in hot weather or a humid environment. Prickly heat is often characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Small red bumps, especially where sweat accumulates
  • Itching or stinging and sharp feeling in the rash

These symptoms can appear in all parts of the body and can occur in all age ranges, but are most common in infants and children.

Based on the depth of skin damage that occurs, prickly heat is divided into several types, namely:

Miliaria crystalline             

Miliaria crystallina is the mildest type of prickly heat. Miliaria crystallina affects only the top layer of the skin. This condition is characterized by the appearance of red nodules filled with a clear liquid that breaks easily. This type of prickly heat generally does not cause itching and pain.

Miliaria rubra

Miliaria rubra occurs in the deeper layers of the skin. This condition is more common in adults than children. The symptoms of miliaria rubra are red nodules accompanied by itching and stinging.

Miliaria pustulosa

Miliaria pustulose is a continuation of miliaria rubra. Prickly heat occurs when miliaria rubra becomes inflamed.

The sign of miliaria pustola is a red pustule that changes color to white or yellow. The presence of pustules indicates the onset of skin infection.

Miliaria profunda

Miliaria deepa is the least common type of prickly heat. This type of miliaria occurs in the deeper layer (dermis). Retention of sweat will trigger the appearance of red nodules that are bigger and harder.

Although less common, this type of miliaria is chronic and often recurs.

When to see a doctor

Prickly heat will generally heal on its own if you can keep the ambient temperature and skin cool. However, do a doctor's examination if the prickly heat is increasingly bothersome and is accompanied by symptoms of a secondary infection of the skin. Some of the symptoms of secondary infection are:

  • Red nodules swell, and it hurts
  • The nodules ooze pus
  • Fever and chills

Diagnostics of Prickly Heat

To diagnose prickly heat, the doctor will ask questions about the complaints experienced, medical history, and conditions in the patient's environment.

Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination by looking at the rash directly. No tests or investigations are needed to confirm the diagnosis of prickly heat.

Prickly Heat Treatment

Prickly heat is generally harmless and does not require special medical assistance. This condition can be treated alone at home with simple steps, such as:

  • Compressing the affected area with a damp cloth or ice cube wrapped in a cloth for no more than 20 minutes every hour
  • Clean the affected area with running water and mild soap
  • Sprinkle talcum powder on the affected area to reduce skin discomfort
  • Keeping the skin cool for example by bathing and showering
  • Avoiding hot weather and damp places, such as staying longer in a cool room, or using a fan
  • Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Wear loose clothing so it doesn't inhibit sweating

If the prickly heat that you are experiencing is quite severe and bothersome, the doctor can provide treatment in the form of:

  • Administration of antihistamine drugs , to relieve itching and redness on the surface of the skin
  • Giving calamine lotion , to relieve itching, burning, or experiencing irritation
  • Administering antibiotic drugs , to deal with secondary infections in prickly heat
  • Giving anhydrous lanolin, to prevent blockage of sweat glands and stop new rashes from occurring
  • Giving corticosteroid ointment , to relieve itching and inflammation in severe rashes

Complications of prickly heat

Prickly heat usually goes away on its own and rarely causes complications. However, prickly heat that is scratched continuously can cause complications in the form of a secondary infection due to bacteria, namely folliculitis .

In addition, prickly heat can also cause sufferers to experience the following conditions:

  • It's hard to sleep
  • Difficult to do activities
  • Fussy, if it happens to the baby

Prickly Heat Prevention

The best way to prevent prickly heat is to avoid risk factors that can trigger blockages in the sweat glands. There are several efforts that can be done to prevent the blockage, namely:

  • Keeps body skin cool and cool
  • Use a soap that is made from mild and does not contain perfume
  • Do not wear tight or too thick clothes when the weather is hot
  • Avoiding outdoor activities in the hot sun
  • Always wipe sweat during and after exercise or activity
Back to blog