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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is prickly heat?
Prickly heat is an itchy, red skin rash that occurs when the sweat glands become blocked. Sweat that cannot flow to the surface leaches into the skin instead, causing tiny areas of inflammation and swelling. These areas appear on the skin's surface as red spots and …
What are the symptoms of prickly heat?
The main symptom of prickly heat is a red and slightly swollen rash consisting of tiny red spots or blisters. As the name suggests, the rash often feels itchy or prickly. Adults usually develop the rash in areas where sweat collects, such as the back, …
What causes prickly heat?
Prickly heat occurs when the sweat glands become blocked. Trapped sweat leaks into the surrounding skin, causing tiny areas of inflammation and swelling. It is not clear why the sweat glands become blocked in the first place, but the process is thought to involve …
Who can develop prickly heat?
Although prickly heat can affect anyone, it tends to be more common in babies and children. It's also more likely to occur in hot, humid conditions, particularly during the summer months.
How is prickly heat diagnosed?
There are no tests for diagnosing prickly heat. A diagnosis is made by looking at the skin and asking questions about symptoms.
What can be done at home to treat prickly heat?
Sitting in an air-conditioned space for even just a few hours a day and applying a cold compress may provide relief from itchy or prickly feelings. Wearing light, breathable clothing and avoiding irritating soaps and moisturizers may also …
Can prickly heat be prevented?
Prickly heat can be prevented by avoiding environments and activities that produce heavy sweating. Using sunscreens or moisturizers that are labelled as 'water-based' or 'non-comedogenic' (not pore-blocking) can prevent sweat glands from becoming blocked. …
What is the outlook for prickly heat?
Although prickly heat may be itchy and uncomfortable, it is not a serious condition. The rash usually clears in a few days without any particular treatment. Some people who develop prickly heat after moving to a hot, humid environment may stop …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 10 Apr 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 45 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Prickly heat