Tag Archives: Miliaria

Prickly Heat? Don’t Try Talc

Sweat (Hadise album)

Sweat (Hadise album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A genuine “Indian summer” is upon us now with temperatures all over the country in the high thirties and forties. Earlier, Indians used to wear white cotton clothes in summer but now most prefer to dress in synthetic silks, and polyester fabrics, little realising that those clothes are totally inappropriate in this weather.

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Even school children — who are issued uniforms with the material and tailoring regulated by the school — end up wearing thick synthetic clothes when ideally they should wear pure cotton or at least a 60 per cent cotton and 40 per cent polyester mix.

To survive, our bodies need to maintain an average internal temperature of 98.6ºF or 36.6ºC and it uses sweating to regulate the temperature. When the outside temperature is high, the body secretes sweat from glands situated in the layer below the skin. The sweat reaches the surface through coiled tubes and forms a thin film of fluid. As this layer evaporates, the body cools down. Sweating can be excessive when the temperature is high, there is increased physical exertion, there is little or no circulation of air and if the clothes are made of synthetic material that traps the sweat. (Nowadays many sports companies manufacture sports clothes out of special material that “wicks” away the sweat).

If sweat pores get blocked (by dead skin cells, dirt or talcum powder), the trapped sweat forms tiny clear bumps below the surface of the skin called miliria crystalline (prickly heat). These look unsightly but do not really cause any symptoms. Eventually, they turn red (miliria rubra), and evolve into a brown scaly rash which can be confused with pimples, folliculitis or chicken pox.

Prickly heat usually appears in covered areas where sweat cannot evaporate easily or the pores are blocked. The forehead is affected if it is covered with a fringe or cap. The upper back and chest, and the arms are other common locations. In adults the rash sometimes appears on the inner thighs or in areas where there are body folds. It is aggravated by friction between the skin and tight fitting non-absorbent synthetic clothing. The continuous rubbing can lead to the skin eventually peeling off, leaving a raw red area.

Prickly heat causes itching and a tingling sensation but scratching can cause secondary infection with bacteria. The appearance of the rash then changes and there can be a yellow pus discharge. The person may develop fever. Uninfected prickly heat, however, does not cause fever. Although prickly heat is uncomfortable and unsightly, with a little care it can be easily prevented.

• Stay away from the direct heat of the sun as far as possible

• Wear loose fitting cotton clothes or at least a 60-40 mix of cotton and polyester

• Make sure school uniforms are stitched out of natural materials, preferably thin materials

• Try to ensure that schools have fans and ventilation.

• Do not scratch. The more you scratch, the more it will itch.

• Use a mild dose of antihistamine to control itching.

• Do not apply thick oil-based creams and talc. They will only block the pores further.

Bathe two or three times a day in tepid water. Add a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to a bucket of water before bathing till the prickly heat disappears.

• Use soap containing trichlorhexidine (Dial, Neko) Do not apply soap directly to the skin. Use a moist wash rag, a herbal scrubber or a loofah.

• If prickly heat becomes red and pustular, changes appearance or the temperature rises, consult a doctor immediately.

Contrary to advertisements on television, talc does not soothe, relieve or prevent prickly heat. Talc is made up of finely powdered combinations of ground zinc stearate, and silicates. It blocks the skin pores, increasing the sweat build up and aggravating prickly heat.

Talc causes other medical problems as well. The size of the particles is so small that they can easily be inhaled. The particles can reach the smallest areas of the lung and cause pneumonia, inflammation or swelling of the airways. This can be fatal in babies. If applied to the groin and genital areas, talc can migrate through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Some scientific studies have found a relationship between the use of talcum powder and cancer of the ovary.

Baby powder is talc based and should not be used. Nappy rash is different from prickly heat and the treatment is different too.

If you get prickly heat, bathe two to three times a day. Use plain calamine lotion (not creams and ointment) to relieve the itching. If secondary infection has occurred, consult a doctor.

You may click to see :
*Remedies for Prickly Heat
*Natural Remedy for Prickly Heat

* Two baths a day keep bacteria at bay

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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A Common Symptom of Heat Illness

Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids, replenishing salt and minerals and limiting time in the heat can help.

Heat-related illnesses include:-

  • Heatstroke – a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
  • Heat exhaustion – an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
  • Heat cramps – muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
  • Heat rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating

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Click to see:

>Extreme Heat

>Hyperthermia: Too Hot for Your Health

> Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat

Treatment:-

* Heat Cramps: First Aid
* Heat Exhaustion: First Aid
* Heatstroke: First Aid

Prevention/Screening:-

* Extreme Heat: Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

* Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke: What You Need to Know

Specific Conditions:-

* Prickly Heat (Miliaria Rubra)

* Protect Yourself: Heat Stress

If you suspect a person is having a problem with the heat, err on the side of caution and insist they get into shade and cool down. Have them drink water and spray their body with cold water or rub them down with ice or a cold cloth. If they don’t cool down quickly, seek medical advice.

Dr. Bergeron notes that after incidents of heatstroke among student athletes, it often becomes clear that other students had noticed the player “didn’t look quite right.’’ Kids should be instructed that if their friends start acting funny, confused or mumbling, they should alert an adult.

As a result, athletic researchers recommend that kids and adult exercisers alike should adopt a buddy system when playing or exercising in the heat.

“The athlete is the worst one to make the decision,’’ Dr. Bergeron said. “We strongly recommend that you have people and kids in like positions sort of assigned to each other so you have a buddy system. It’s your buddy or friend who is likely to notice the behavioral change first.’’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answers frequently asked questions about heat illness here.

Resources:The New York Times. June 10 ’08 and http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heatillness.html

Perickly Heat (Miliaria)

Prickly Heat or Miliaria (miliaria rubra, sweat rash ) is a skin disease marked by small and itchy rashes. Miliaria is a common ailment in hot and humid conditions, such as in the tropics and during the summer season. Although it affects people of all ages, it is especially common in children and infants due to their underdeveloped sweat glands.

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It is a skin rash caused by trapped sweat under the skin. Sweat can become trapped when the narrow ducts through which sweat travels to the surface become clogged. Prickly heat tends to be more common in warmer, more humid climates. The condition usually appears on the torso and thighs.
Pathology
Miliaria (Prickly Heat) occurs when the sweat gland ducts get plugged due to dead skin cells or bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, a common bacterium that occurs on the skin which is also associated with acne. The trapped sweat leads to irritation (prickling), itching and to a rash of very small blisters, usually in a localized area of the skin.

Prickly heat develops when the narrow ducts carrying sweat to the skin surface get clogged. The trapped sweat causes inflammation, which produces irritation (prickling), itching, and a rash of very tiny blisters. Prickly heat also can appear as large, reddened areas of skin.
Prickly heat results when sweat glands are blocked and ruptured, and sweat is trapped below the skin.

Clinical features:
Symptoms of miliaria include small red rashes, called papules, which may itch or more often cause an intense ‘pins-and-needles’ prickling sensation. These rashes may simultaneously occur at a number of areas on a sufferer’s body, the most common including the face, neck, under the breasts and under the scrotum. Other areas include skin folds, areas of the body that may rub against clothing, such as the back, chest, and stomach, etc. A related and sometimes simultaneous condition is folliculitis, where hair follicles become plugged with foreign matter, resulting in inflammation.

The following are the most common symptoms of prickly heat. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently:

*itching
*irritation (prickling)
*small blisters
*large, red areas on skin
The symptoms of prickly heart may resemble other dermatologic conditions. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

The symptoms relating to miliaria should not be confused with shingles as they can be very similar. Shingles will restrict itself to one side of the body but also has a rash-like appearance. It is also accompanied by a prickling sensation and pain throughout the region. Those who suspect they have shingles and not miliaria should seek medical advice immediately as the sooner antivirals are taken, the better.

Other types of miliaria:
In a similar mild condition called miliaria crystallina, instead of small rashes, there are tiny blisters that look like beads of perspiration. miliaria profunda, sometimes referred to as Wildfire due to the rapid spread and severe burning sensations, is a severe form of miliaria caused by a complication due to repeated outbreaks of miliaria rubra, the sweat ducts are completely blocked. This inability to sweat may cause the patient to be prone to heat exhaustion. Once triggered, a severe attack of miliaria commonly lasts 5-6 weeks because the plugs which form in the sweat duct openings can only be cast off by the outward growth of the sweat duct cells.

The most severe forms of prickly heat have very similar symptoms to severe burns. The term Wildfire is used because the generation of excess heat and the inability to expel the heat can lead to a cascade effect where the trapped sweat causes blisters to break, the immune system, adrenal system, and patient psychological response to the pain and panic response to the rapidly spreading rash causes additional biological activities and heat and the entire system cascades (or breaks down). The rash can be visually seen to progress rapidly similar to scenes from various horror movies, accompanied by the associated pain which will become quite severe.

Prevention:
Prickly heat can be prevented by avoiding activities that induce sweating, using air conditioning to cool the environment, wearing light clothing and in general, avoiding hot and humid weather. If that is not possible, and especially if air conditioning is unavailable or unaffordable, then taking multiple showers throughout the day (and night as well if needed) to unplug and clean the sweat glands is the best defense against it.


Treatment:

The condition usually clears up when sweating is avoided. Other treatment may include:

  • keeping the skin cool and dry
  • corticosteroid lotions

There is currently little in the way of specific medical treatment, but in most cases the rashes disappear by themselves. Severe infections can last weeks. Early and continuous treatment of minor infections can effect recovery within a matter of days. Staying in an air-conditioned environment to avoid sweating will speed-up the healing process and lessen symptoms. Anti-itch lotions, such as calamine and topical steroid creams can be used to sooth and control the itching. Use caution however as anything which blocks the release of sweat and heat and in particular oil based products block the glands and slow the defoliation process and should be avoided. Antibiotics and topical antiseptics are used to prevent bacterial blooms, reducing the chances of the sweat glands being plugged and causing inflammations. In some cases, vitamin A and C supplements can help shorten the duration and severity of the symptoms. Prickly heat powders, using antibacterial agents and ingredients like menthol and camphor with mild analgesic and cooling properties, can be applied to the affected areas to relieve the itching and discomfort. Healing takes time even when bacteria are reduced as new sweat gland cells need time to regrow as the damaged cells defoliate.

Instead of medicating, it is usually best to simply keep the skin clean by taking multiple showers to keep affected areas clean and sweat free. Stay calm and stay cold. Dunking in cold water is effective. Mild antibacterial soaps may be helpful as well to slow spread and prevent future outbreaks. In most cases, these simple steps alone will make the rashes disappear naturally in a few days. If they persist, it may be advisable to consult a doctor in case a more serious infection is occurring.

In the cases where the rash has caused open blisters to form a doctor should be consulted immediately as the open sores are almost certain to infect and cause secondary problems without preventative measures.

Homeopathy :
To prevent heat rash, take a 30C dose of Sol three times a day for up to three weeks, writes Andrew Lockie, M.D., in his book The Family Guide to Homeopathy. If you do develop a rash, Dr. Lockie recommends trying a 30C dose of Apis as soon as the prickling or itching sensation starts. Take this remedy every two hours for up to ten doses, he says, and repeat this routine daily, if necessary.
Sol and Apis are available in many health food stores. To purchase homeopathic remedies by mail, refer to the resource list on page 637.

Food Therapy
To get over heat rash more quickly, increase your intake of essential fatty acids,   advises Julian Whitaker, M.D., founder and president of the Whitaker Wellness Center in Newport Beach, California. “Salmon and other cold water fish (such as herring and mackerel) are excellent sources of these fatty acids, as are flaxseed oil and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.” Flaxseed oil is available in most health food stores.

Hydrotherapy :
Take an alkaline bath to soak away heat rash, suggests medical pathologist Agatha Thrash, M.D., co-founder and co-director of Uchee Pines Institute, a natural healing center in Seale, Alabama. Add one cup of baking soda to a tub filled with lukewarm water (94 to 98°F; you can use a regular thermometer to check) and soak for 30 to 60 minutes, using a cup to pour the water over any part of the body that isn’t submerged in the bath. Pat dry.

HOME REMEDY FOR PRICKLY HEAT

Ayurvedic Treatment for Prickly Heat

Simple Remedy for Prickly Heat

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prickly_heat
http://www.umm.edu/dermatology-info/prickly.htm
http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/21/126.cfm
http://www.merck.com/mmhe/print/sec18/ch206/ch206b.html

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