Health Watch - Summertime: Heat Rash

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’re talking about surviving the summertime. Hot, humid weather that makes you sweaty could also make you itchy if you develop prickly heat.

Prickly heat, or heat rash, is a patch of little red bumps caused by clogged sweat glands. It generally occurs where skin folds touch, such as in the groin, elbows, neck or around the breasts. Dr. Amit Pandya, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the rash is more annoying than serious. The rash usually goes away if you get to a cooler environment and expose the affected area to air. Loosen clothing around the affected area, wash it with cool water and let it air dry. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help ease the itching. To avoid heat rash, dry those areas well after a shower and use a talcum powder. In some cases, a yeast infection may develop in the affected area. This can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal cream, but see a doctor if the rash doesn’t clear up.

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


June 2009

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