Is Prickly Heat Dangerous?
Not many people know that prickly heat rash is more than a skin problem that occurs due to excessive sweating. It can be a very dangerous physical condition affecting the entire body. In its most severe form, it can be life threatening. It should not ever be taken lightly.
Prickly heat rash is most likely to happen in hot, humid weather. The rash looks like an outbreak of tiny blisters that typically cause a persistent itch.
It can happen to anyone at any age, but it occurs more often in active children because their sweat glands are not yet fully developed.
There are other names for heat rash, including sweat rash and miliaria. The name miliaria should not be mistaken for malaria, which is a serious disease caused by parasites.
Prickly heat may be caused by bacteria that become trapped in clogged sweat gland ducts. Not only does the skin around these ducts become irritated, but the clogs also prevent sweating.
This can have serious consequences. When sweat glands are clogged, the body can't cool itself efficiently.
Trapped sweat eventually causes the blisters to burst, which triggers a variety of problems that affect the immune system, adrenal system, and psychological functions. Some people have described the process as the body cooking itself.
The first symptom to appear when you have prickly heat is a small red rash that usually causes itchiness. The rash may appear in several places simultaneously.
The first signs of the rash often show up on the face, neck, under breasts in women or beneath the scrotum in men. It also often appears where clothing rubs against the skin.
Prickly heat is sometimes mistaken for a condition known as shingles, which presents a similar rash. Generally speaking, however, shingles only causes a rash on a single side of the body.
Prickly heat symptoms can show up in multiple places, as noted above, and can resemble severe burns. If heat rash isn't treated, it can grow worse quickly, accompanied by growing pain and discomfort.
When prickly heat is treated, it usually resolves itself in several days.
It's important to stay in a cool or air-conditioned place during recovery, and to avoid sweating. If the blisters turn into open sores, a variety of secondary problems could follow.
There are several types of heat rash. Miliaria rubra is the most common type.
Miliaria crystallina is a variety that features tiny blisters that look more like perspiration beads rather than a rash.
A third type called miliaria profunda is known to some as "wildfire." It is a very severe and dangerous type that results from recurring episodes of miliaria rubra.
When you have miliaria profunda, your sweat ducts are entirely blocked, making it impossible to sweat.
This can trigger heat exhaustion, severe fever, and other physical problems that include brain damage. It can even be fatal.
Miliaria profunda can require a recovery period of five to six weeks.
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