By: Anna Karmela O. So, M.D., Manager
With weather temperature rising to 33-37 ยบC nowadays, it is no wonder that many Filipinos easily get heat rash (a.k.a. prickly heat, miliaria, "bungang araw")
Perspiration helps the body regulate temperature by cooling down when the sweat evaporates. Sweat is produced by sweat glands located deep in our skin. It is released through the sweat pores found on skin's topmost layer. Heat rash develops when these pores are blocked thus, trapping sweat inside the skin. Small pink to reddish protruding dots that look like pimples start to appear that can be extremely itchy.
Babies, children, the elderly, and obese individuals are susceptible to heat rash. Common causes of heat rash include immature sweat glands, increased skin folds and coupled with tight fitting clothes.
There is no need to seek a doctor except if blisters or pus develops. Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream may provide relief but must not be applied on facial area.
The following are ways to treat and prevent heat rash:
1. Use cooling aids like fan, electric fan, and air conditioner.
2. Wear loose and cotton clothing specially when engaging in sports and other physical activities.
3. Air dry skin after taking a bath instead of towel dry.
4. Avoid thick creams and lotions that may block sweat glands.
5. Take frequent baths to cool down and wash away dirt.
6. Avoid wearing clothes that cover most of your skin; expose skin and let it breathe especially arm pits, elbow pits, knee pits, and neck.