Previously published in Examiner
Heat rash known as prickly heat and miliaria is a condition that has been associated with babies who are bundled up too tightly and become overheated. However, adults even in Montreal and the rest of North America can get heat rash as well. Heat rash is a summer time ailment in Montreal and comes with hot and humid weather. Montreal summers are very hot and humid and with the climate change getting worse all the time.
Heat rash happens when perspiration is trapped under the skin and the sweat ducts are blocked. The rash can be blisters or they can be deep red lumps. They can be itchy or prickly; hence the name prickly heat.
Most heat rash goes away in time, though some severe cases will need medical treatment. The best prevention is to keep your body cool so it does not sweat.
Three types of miliaria
Miliaria crystallina is the mildest form of the condition and is characterized by little blisters that will burst easily. The rash is not usually itchy or prickly and rests on the outer layer of the skin. Though it will go away on its own, it can come back if the heat and humidity persists.
Miliaria rubra is also found on the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and is often called prickly heat. Adults will develop miliaria rubra if they are exposed to hot humid weather or if they are bedridden. On the other hand, babies may develop this condition between the ages of two and three weeks old.
The symptoms for miliaria rubra are:
itchiness or prickly feeling
no perspiration (anhidrosis)
Miliaria profunda is the rarest form of the condition. It is a complication of miliaria rubra. It happens to people who have had several bouts of miliaria rubra. This condition often occurred after exercise or intense sweating. The symptoms include fleshy colored bumps that look like goose bumps. Lack of perspiration which may lead to heat exhaustion, dizziness and nausea.
You will need to see the doctor if the heat rash persists for longer than a few days, or if there is infection such as: warmth around the area, pain and swelling, fever, chills, pus oozing from the bumps, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, neck or armpit.