Health Watch - Itching: 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.


Itchy skin is no fun — it’s uncomfortable and irritating. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about causes of itchy skin, some consequences and what you can do about it. At this time of year, the heat can make you itch if you develop prickly heat.

Prickly heat, also known as heat rash, occurs when sweat glands get clogged and sweat is trapped under the skin. The result is an itchy patch of red bumps. The rash is most likely to occur where skin folds touch, like in the groin, under the breasts, on the neck or under arms. Dr. Amit Pandya, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says prickly heat isn’t serious, but it can be annoying. The rash usually clears up on its own when you get to a cooler place and expose the affected area to air. Loosen clothing and wash the affected area with a cool cloth. Use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itching.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/dermatology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.

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August 2009


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