How to Know If You're Experiencing Heat Rash

It’s safe to say that we’ve all heard of heat rash before. Even though you know what it is, how can you know that the new rash that has developed on your skin is, indeed, heat rash?

Our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team highlights what heat rash is and how you can identify it below, so keep reading!

  • What heat rash is: Heat rash (also known as prickly heat) develops when blocked pores trap perspiration under your skin. The common symptoms of heat rash are red bumps on the skin and an itchy or prickly feeling on the skin.

  • Why heat rash is caused: Heat rash develops when some of your sweat ducts clog, which can be caused by excessive sweating. Instead of evaporating, perspiration gets trapped beneath the skin, causing inflammation and rash.

  • How you can identify it: The rash appears as reddened skin with tiny blisters and is due to inflammation. It often occurs in skin creases or areas of tight clothing where air cannot circulate, like the armpits or inner thighs. Eczema looks fairly similar to heat rash, but if your reddened irritated skin appears on a hot day, it’s almost certain that you’re experiencing heat rash.

  • Here’s what to do about it: The first thing you need to do is cool off. Cooling your skin typically causes heat rash to quickly fade.

  • What to do next: Apply cold to the rash. Whether you choose a cold compress, cool showers or a damp cloth, cold water can bring immediate relief and can help stop swelling, ease itching and slow the progression of a rash.

  • What to do after: If your skin has been cool for several hours and the rash still hasn’t faded, your rash may require skin ointments (like calamine lotion) or OTC antihistamines, such as hydroxyzine and diphenhydramine, to relieve the itching.

  • Action steps to take: To avoid future occurrences of heat rash, avoid strenuous outdoor exercise when it’s hot outside, stay cool indoors, dry your skin thoroughly after sweating and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.

  • Doctor recommendations: Remember to drink lots of water—especially during the summer months! Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body regardless of the time of year.

You can often treat heat rash at home, but don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville center if you need further medical care! We’re here for you now and always.