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Sweat Rash – Pictures, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Sweat rash is a skin disorder wherein intense itching and pricking sensation is felt, and which results in the formation of blisters or lumps. Children are more prone to get sweat rash, but adults are equally vulnerable under a hot and humid climate. Sweat rash is also called as prickly heat rash or miliaria.

When the sweat ducts get blocked, the perspiration is trapped beneath the skin which results in the development of sweat rash. Ultimately, it leads to the formation of colored lumps of shallow blisters.

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Normally sweat rash vanishes in due course on its own.  But the critical cases of sweat rash would need medication. There is no necessity for undue worry about sweat rash as most of them can be treated by preventing the unnecessary sweating and by keeping the body temperature low.

Symptoms of sweat rash

For adults,  the sweat rash is prone to develop on skin folds, and on those regions  where the skin rubs with cloth and creates friction. Besides parts of the body such as elbow creases, the groin and armpits, children are prone to get sweat rash in areas like neck, shoulders and the chest.

Sweat rash is of three kinds and they have different kinds of signs and symptoms. The types and their signs are detailed below:

Miliaria  crystalline-

  • It is the mildest type of sweat rash and affects the sweat ducts present in the top layer of the skin
  • It may lead to the formation of small bumps and papules that break easily and may also be in the form of superficial and clear blisters.
  • It is more common among newborns and does not result in any itching or pain. It disappears on its own, but may recur on account of hot and humid conditions.

Miliaria rubra-

  • This type of sweat rash tends to affect the sweat duct that are present deeper in the epidermis of the skin. Adults who need prolonged bed rest due to sickness or are continuously exposed to hot and humid climate conditions develop this type of sweat rash. Newborns, which are a week old or up to three weeks old, are  also vulnerable to it.
  • In case there is formation of red bumps, then that may lead to prickly feelings and itching.
  • There may be little or no sweating from the affected areas of the body.

Miliaria profunda-

  • Adults, affected by miliaria rubra many  times over, tend to get affected by this rare form of sweat rash. It normally develops deeper inside the skin and affects the dermis. Mostly this type of sweat rash is caused due to heavy physical activities, or strenuous workout which induces more perspiration.
  • It leads to the development of lesions that are flesh-colored and solid and may appear like goose bumps
  • The condition may cause little or no sweat which may eventually lead to other signs of heat exhaustion such as dizziness, headaches, increased heartbeats, hypertension and nausea.

Some serious complications that result from sweat rash include the following:

  • A heatstroke for an untreated case of heat exhaustion
  • It may cause inflammation or swelling of the blisters or lesions by bacterial infections or by other germs. This may lead to several side effects such as oozing of pus from the bumps or lesions, fever with shivering, increased warmth, swelling, redness and pain of the affected areas as well as swelling of the lymph nodes around the armpits, groin or the neck.

Causes of sweat rash

  • Sweat rash is caused due to blockage of the sweat ducts. Hence, the accumulated sweat gets trapped under the skin, instead of evaporating and thus leads to the development of rash and skin inflammation.

Some of the reasons for the clogging of the sweat ducts are given below:

  • The newborns have immature and underdeveloped sweat ducts which are prone to the trapping of perspiration beneath the surface of the skin. Such situations may arise if the infants are clothed in unnecessary and heavy woolens, if infants are placed in incubators, in circumstances when  they have high fever or if hot conditions are prevalent.
  • Excessive physical activity or extreme workouts may prevent the evaporation of sweat leading to formation of sweat rash
  • The presence of tropical climates or hot and humid weather
  • When one overheats the body, especially during winters by the use of excessive woolens or an electric blanket
  • Some prescription medications may also cause sweat rash as a side effect
  • The pores may get blocked by increased use of ointments and skin creams increasing the vulnerability to developing sweat rash

Sweat rash treatment

  • The best way to treat sweat rash is to allow the body to cool down thereby decreasing the body temperature. This can be done by wearing loose clothing made of light fabrics, staying indoors in air-conditioned environments and avoidance of arduous physical activities that precipitate sweating.
  • Severe cases of sweat rash can be treated with medications such as topical ointments or steroids as prescribed by a doctor.

Sweat Rash Pictures

Here are photos of sweat rash on the skin :

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