Health Watch — July 4: Prickly Heat

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about celebrating the July 4 holiday. This is a holiday we often spend outdoors, cooking out or going to fireworks shows. Being out in the heat can lead to the discomfort of prickly heat.

Prickly heat occurs when sweat glands clog, trapping sweat beneath the skin. The result is a rash of little red bumps, usually in places where skin folds touch, such as in the armpits and groin area. Dr. Amit Pandya, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the rash isn’t dangerous, just uncomfortable. It will usually go away once you’ve cooled and dried off. Wash the affected area with a cool cloth, then let it air dry. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can ease the itch, but avoid using other creams or lotions because that will further clog the skin. To help prevent prickly heat, dry thoroughly after a shower, use talcum powder in areas where skin folds may meet, and wear loose clothing.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.


June 2008

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