Sweat Rash (Miliaria)

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Miliaria profunda

Sweat Rash

Sweat rash is a condition technically known as miliaria. Others identify this condition as prickly heat, heat rash or sweat bumps, in concurrence to the presenting symptoms and the type of weather that this condition usually occurs. Those who are affected of sweat rash are usually the young, as they are susceptible for having underdeveloped sweat glands. The younger the child is the more susceptible or prone of sweat rash he or she becomes. The humidity or hot weather condition is a great predisposing factor for sweat rash.

The condition is identified with various types:

  • Miliaria crystalline. Primarily caused by the obstruction of the sweat glands. This results to a number of tiny blister formations that can easily break.

Miliaria crystalline picture

Picture 1 : Miliaria crystalline

Image source: dermimages.med.jhmi.edu

  • Miliaria rubra. This type occurs and affects the deeper areas of the epidermis. Because of this, there shall be a superficial appearance of the lesions. They appear redder and a bit larger than the lesions that appear in miliaria crystalline.

Miliaria rubra

Picture 2 :  Miliaria rubra

Image source: globalskinatlas.com

  • Miliaria profunda. This is considered the worst form of sweat rash. This is characterized by the development of severe lesions and is much deeper than those of the lesions of miliaria rubia.

Miliaria profunda

Picture 3 : Miliaria profunda

Image source: www.iqb.es/dermatologia/atlas/miliaria/miliaria07.htm

  • Miliaria pustulosa. Development of pustules is observed with this type of sweat rash. This type can result to bacterial infection when left untreated.

Miliaria pustulosa picture

Picture 4 : Miliaria pustulosa

Image source: globalskinatlas.com

The presentation of sweat rash

The condition is identified as sweat rash simply because of its presentation. Sweat rash is somehow acknowledged as an irritated skin. Usually, the areas of affectation of sweat rash are the skin folds (those regularly unexposed). Areas prone to such skin problem are those frequently exposed to friction from clothing. The young, especially the infants, are mostly affected with sweat rash on the skin folds of the neck, groin and underarm. The affected adults would identify sweat rash also in skin folds but mostly on the torso and face.

Itchiness is also commonly complained by the affected. This discomfort is described as a prickling sensation. They somehow describe the sensation as either intense or tolerable “pins and needles” characteristic.

Rashes, described as small and reddish, appear to the affected areas. This rash is identified as papules. This is known to be the root source of the prickling, painful sensation.

Sweat Rash Causes

Sweat rash cause is rooted from a bacterial agent known as Staphylococcus epidermidis. This bacterium is said to be related to the formation of acne. The condition is triggered as the bacterial agent lives freely in our skin. Sweat rash cause can be easily identified. It is basically called sweat rash as this was caused by the clogging of the sweat gland ducts by dead skin cells or by the mentioned S. epidermidis bacteria. The clogged sweat glands become irritated when left unattended thus resulting to sweat rash.

During the summer season, this condition is quite common. Areas which experience hot weather most of the time would accumulate a number of cases of sweat rash. Take note; the condition is not limited during a humid weather but can also occur during the winter season. This is possible for the increased exposure to fire used for warming up; overuse of electric blankets and excessive clothing are the probable causes of miliaria. In some cases during a hospital stay, a patient is quite prone to sweat rash. Bedridden patients or simply those who have prolonged periods of bed rest are affected of sweat rash.

Underlying skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema are precipitating factors for sweat rash. Those who were previously exposed to allergic reactions are commonly affected of this condition.

Clothing is another factor for the development of sweat rash. Those who wear too tight clothing, such as women who use sports bra and uncomfortable apparel are prone to sweat rash. Prolonged exposure to damp clothing, i.e. after a good and rigorous exercise, can induce sweat rash development.

Excessive sweating is also considered a precipitating factor for sweat rash. Those with such health condition are prone to suffer from sweat rash.

Prevention of Sweat Rash

The following are the interventions that aim to prevent sweat rash formation:

  • Maintain good hygiene. This is done by keeping the skin clean and dry most of the time to avoid skin irritation. Those who practice regular exercise should shower after a vigorous practice. It is advisable that a mild soap should be used to those who have extra-sensitive skin. Keeping self dry after an exercise and a good bath can help avoid occurrence of the skin condition.
  • Clothing. Wear newly washed clothes to help avoid accumulation and triggering of the causative bacteria, S. epidermidis. Proper fitting clothes should be worn and avoiding tight clothing to prevent induction of friction against the skin.
  • Avoid heat. It is impossible for one to control the weather condition but one can avoid it. One should not do exercise outdoors during hot, humid days. One can stay indoors to do their usual exercise regimen during a hot day. Do not take extreme hot shower baths to avoid skin irritation. It is much advised to take cool baths or showers.

Treatment for Sweat Rash

Relief from the rash discomfort is basically the aim in the treatment plan. The following are the proposed treatment interventions for sweat rash:

  • Application of cool compress is done on the affected areas. Provide proper ventilation on the affected area to soothe it.
  • Apply calamine lotion to provide relief. Calamine lotion contains ingredients that have antipruritic effect.
  • Application of topical steroids has provided desirable results such as relief. The use of mild topical steroids is much recommended. These topical steroids have anti-inflammatory abilities thus making it a regular recommendation for skin rashes.
  • Application of anti-fungal and antibiotic creams is advisable, especially to avoid development of infection. Specifically, anti-staphylococcal antibiotics are much suggested.
  • Increase water intake to provide hydration. This can help reduce body heat and maintain the regular body temperature.
  • Intake of oral antibiotics and antihistamines may be necessary. It is advisable that one would seek medical advice when rashes come about, in order for the doctor to provide proper prescription drugs.

Given these treatment procedures, it is recommended that you seek medical help from your doctor. Do not apply treatment yourself without the aid of a doctor for you may just aggravate the situation.

References:

http://dermnetnz.org/hair-nails-sweat/miliaria.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miliaria#Signs_and_symptoms

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/men/sweating-odor/sweat-rash1.htm

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/heat_rash/article_em.htm

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