I just flew back from Atlanta for the 4th of July weekend, and, boy, are my sweat glands killing me.
Atlanta has a way of making your sweat glands work overtime, and overworked sweat glands can lead to dreaded heat rash. Heat rash is a common, annoying problem in summertime that develops when sweat glands are blocked, thereby preventing sweat from escaping and irritating your skin.
Hot skin trapped under clothing is often affected, leading to red itchy or prickly bumps (hence it’s other name, prickly heat). Humid heat is worse than dry heat, and anything that blocks the sweat ducts such as lying on your back at night, wearing tight fitting clothing or even applying thick sunscreen is a sure way to bring the rash out.
Prickly heat is commonly seen in babies who aren’t able to tell us when they’re hot and sweaty from being overly bundled up. Hospital patients who are unable to move in bed are also commonly afflicted. Of course, healthy adults can get it too, especially during the dog days of summer.
The best treatment is to get cool. A cool shower, cranking the airconditioning, or taking a dip in the pool will stop the sweating and allow the sweat glands to recover. Sometimes a mild topical steroid such as cortisone cream is needed to calm the inflammation.
Or you can fly to San Diego where the temperature will top out at 72 degrees next week.