What is rash?
Characterized by the appearance of skin rashes, the rash (miliaria) can cause severe itching and be very uncomfortable. It appears more frequently in places where there is more sweat production (such as skin folds), but it can also appear on the face, back, among others.
Many moms are horrified when the baby’s skin fills up with pellets and cutaneous signs, but it can sometimes be harmless, like the rash. Caused by excessive heat and sweat, this condition is easily treatable and poses no danger to your child.
Do not think that only babies are affected by the problem: it is also common in children, adolescents and adults, especially if these people are physically active, live in warm places and sweat frequently.
Also known as heat dermatitis , it is an uncomfortable problem that can be easily treated and prevented with proper care. Read on to find out what to do if you (or your baby) experience these annoying rashes!
Sweat is a normal physiological reaction of the body whose objective is the maintenance of body temperature. That is why, when it is hot, we sweat so much: the elimination of water helps to refresh the body. This is important because our body is full of substances and processes that need the right temperature to function.
For the sweat to happen, our skin has two structures: the sweat glands and the pores. In these glands, sweat is produced and carried to the surface of the skin through ducts that flow into the pores.
The rash happens when there is an obstruction in the pores or ducts, usually due to excessive sweating. In this way, sweat is produced, but it gets trapped inside the skin, which leads to the rupture of the ducts and the accumulation of fluid. This condition gives rise to the small elevations characteristic of the problem.
Although it is not known exactly why the pores become clogged with sweat itself, it is known that there are some factors that increase the chances of the problem appearing. Some of them are:
Being a baby
Babies generally have immature ducts , which are more fragile and break more easily. Its smaller pores also prevent large volumes of sweat from escaping quickly.
As if that were not enough, it is common for parents to fill the baby with clothes, especially in winter, which muffles the skin and intensifies perspiration.
Because of the rise in body temperature in fever , it is common for the body to sweat constantly while sick. Babies and children are most affected by rash during a febrile episode, but bedridden adults can also develop rashes on their backs due to lack of refrigeration.
The high summer temperatures cause the body to produce more sweat, which can influence the appearance of sprouts. It is worth remembering, however, that there are regions in which even the winter is hot, so that the eruptions can occur all year round.
Physical exercise increases body temperature, while sweat tries to regulate the temperature. So it is not uncommon to see people in the gym “dripping” sweat.
Especially during the summer, people who practice sports and physical activities tend to suffer more from the rashes.
There are some tissues that impede the flow of air and end up “muffling” the skin, preventing the sweat from evaporating and making it difficult to reduce body temperature. When used on hot days or during physical exercises, they greatly favor the appearance of rash.
People with recent tattoos may also suffer from the disease due to the dampness that the protective plastic provides in the region. For this reason – and to avoid other complications – it is extremely important to clean the area and change the plastic a few times a day, depending on the size of the design.
Creams and talc
There are several products such as moisturizing creams and talc that can cause pores to block, preventing sweat from escaping.
Despite being simple, the rash can be classified into different types, which depend on the level where the obstruction is. This also causes different clinical manifestations. Understand:
When the blockage occurs at a more superficial level, the rashes are colorless, non-inflammatory and itchy. On the skin, there are only small “balls” filled with sweat.
Certainly the most common and most recognized type when the word “brotoeja” is spoken, miliaria rubra is the result of a blockage in the middle region of the sweat duct: neither too close to the base, nor close to the exit of the pore.
In these cases, the duct ruptures and sweat leaks into adjacent tissues, causing local inflammation. This gives rise to the itchy red balls, the clearest clinical manifestation of this type of rash. The burning sensation is also normal.
Due to the blockage, the skin may dry out, since sweat does not reach it.
When the patient has several episodes of red miliaria, the obstruction can go deeper and deeper, giving rise to the deep miliaria. This type of rash causes skin color rashes that appear as soon as one comes into contact with heat or after starting physical activities.
It is a rare form of rash, in which the obstruction is very close to the root of the sweat duct. In these cases, there are the appearance of papules more prominent than the balls of the miliaria rubra.
It is not uncommon for infections to occur in the pustular miliaria. Thus, these papules may present a yellowish color, due to the pus contained in the skin.
The main symptom of rash is the appearance of skin lesions, which, in adults, usually appear in folded areas and where clothing causes a lot of friction, such as elbow, armpit and groin creases. In babies, on the other hand, they appear around the neck, shoulders, chest and back.
How the rash manifests depends a lot on where the duct block is:
In the crystalline miliaria , the only sign is the appearance of eruptions that break easily. There is no itchiness or any other unpleasant symptoms.
In the miliaria rubra , on the other hand , there is intense itching and burning. There is no normal pain, but it can appear, especially if the person itches a lot and injures the area. When this happens, there is a risk of developing a kind of thick “crust” characterized by extremely dry skin. There may be bleeding.
The deep miliaria is asymptomatic, there is only the appearance of the eruptions. Due to the impossibility of letting the sweat out, this type may end up causing other parts of the body – such as the face and hands – to try to compensate by releasing more sweat than normal (hyperhidrosis).
When there is infection, that is, in the pustular miliaria , there may be pain, burning and pus spots, giving a yellowish color to the rashes.
The rash is a very common and little harmful condition that is usually treated at home. However, there are some signs that indicate the need to seek professional help. Are they:
- Increased pain;
- Swelling, redness and increased local temperature;
- Presence of pus (pustular miliaria);
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpits, groin and neck;
- Fever and chills.
These signs indicate infection, which should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
When taking the baby to the pediatrician or consulting a dermatologist, the doctor will examine the appearance of the rashes and analyze the symptoms and risk factors.
It is not common for laboratory or imaging tests to be ordered, not least because there is no specific one for the diagnosis of rash.
The analysis of the lesions must be done carefully, in order to avoid confusion. This is because some symptoms are very similar to other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis .
The rash is a temporary rash, that is, it usually goes away on its own. However, it can reappear quickly if proper care is not taken.
The duration of the rash depends a lot on how you take care of it. If you continue to expose yourself to the intense heat, it may take time until the weather gets cold before it disappears. However, when taking the necessary care, it tends to disappear in 3 or 4 days.
The treatment of the rash consists basically of adopting measures that avoid excessive heat and intense sweating (sweating too much). For this reason, a large part of the treatment is also a way of preventing its recurrence.
Some tips are:
- In the heat, avoid heavy clothing, made of synthetic fabrics or too tight. Prefer loose clothing 100% cotton, for example;
- Avoid very hot baths – take the opportunity to refresh your skin with cold baths in the summer;
- Prefer to use neutral soaps that do not dry out the skin, as this worsens the pore blockage;
- After bathing, allow the skin to dry naturally and avoid putting clothes on so quickly in order to let the skin breathe;
- Use cold compresses on the spot;
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun;
- Stop the physical exercises until the rash has passed;
- Avoid using creams and lotions with petroleum jelly (mineral oil), as this compound tends to create a protective layer that prevents sweat from escaping.
When none of this is enough, you can opt for lotions, ointments and medications to assist in the treatment. However, this should only be done after consulting the doctor.
Treatment in babies is not very different from treatment in adults: avoid exposure to heat and the sun, avoid very hot baths, use cold compresses, among others. Some recommendations are:
Adequate number of clothes
In the case of babies, it is very easy for parents to deceive themselves by thinking that they feel much colder than adults. So they put lots and lots of clothes on children to keep them protected from the cold, which is very harmful.
The ideal is, in fact, to dress in the baby just one more piece than in the adult. If the adult is short – sleeved , the baby can wear a long-sleeved one. If the adult is wearing a long-sleeved shirt, you can put a cardigan on the baby.
Babies cannot take cold baths. Therefore, it is recommended that the water temperature be between 35 and 36º C, close to the body temperature of an adult. Use a thermometer to make sure the water is at the right temperature.
After bathing, avoid drying the baby with the towel: let the water evaporate on its own. Do not put your clothes in it immediately after showering. Letting the skin breathe helps to relieve obstructions.
Cornstarch (corn starch)
Grandma’s recipe for putting cornstarch in the bath water to cool the baby works!
For this, it is recommended to use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for half a bathtub of water. Dilute well and pass this mixture on the trunk, shoulders and neck of the baby.
Do not pass over the head, as there is a risk of the child aspirating the mixture.
Adults with rash need not suffer from the problem until it is gone: it is possible to have a home treatment with natural products to relieve some symptoms. It is worth remembering, however, that these methods have no scientific evidence and there are no guarantees of safety when applying them.
Applying chamomile lotions or even a simple infusion helps to soothe the skin, soothing the itch.
Oats have an anti-inflammatory action that helps to reduce the itching caused by the rash. To use it, just add 1 cup of oatmeal in a bathtub and mix well until the water is a milky color. Then, just enter to bathe in this water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Don’t have a bathtub at home? No problem: you can also make compresses dipped in water with oatmeal, which has the same effect. The difference is that, instead of treating the entire body, the compress is only able to treat a few areas.
Cucumber and lemon juice
Known for their refreshing action, cucumber and lemon juice can help a lot in the fight against sprouting.
Cut thin slices of cucumber and dip them in a bowl of cold water mixed with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Leave it there for a few minutes.
Remove the slices from the bowl and apply to the area where there is a rash for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, for a week. If you want, you can also rub the cucumber pulp in the area, in order to guarantee a faster effect.
Some remedies to treat rash are:
- Chamomile lotion;
- Lanolin anhydrous;
- Water paste ( zinc oxide ).
If necessary, the doctor can prescribe corticosteroids and, in the case of infections, topical antibiotics to treat the problem.
Whoever has a rash does not have to worry, as it usually disappears quickly as soon as the individual stays away from the heat and situations in which there is excessive sweating.
However, more severe cases can lead to complications such as a secondary infection or difficulties in regulating body temperature.
There are experts who believe that the appearance of sprouts is the first step in the development of atopic dermatitis , but there is no evidence that the disease is related to sweat.
The accumulation of liquids under the skin creates a favorable environment for the bacteria, already present in our body, to multiply and reach a level harmful to health.
Any bacterial infection, however small, is dangerous and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible. When you notice an accumulation of pus or abscesses on the skin, consult a professional as soon as possible.
Because of the blockages, the rash may lead to anhidrosis, which is the absence of sweat. In such cases, anhidrosis tends to be localized and, therefore, is not life-threatening. In addition, it usually passes as soon as the problem is resolved.
However, generalized anhidrosis (in the entire body) is dangerous because it prevents the body from cooling, leading to a fatal increase in temperature.
In order to compensate for anhidrosis in certain places, other parts of the body may start to overheat, setting up a temporary hyperhidrosis.
The prevention of rash occurs by avoiding situations of heat and intense sweat. Therefore, the tips here are the same as for the treatment: wear light clothes, take cold baths, avoid intense physical exercises in the heat, avoid sun exposure, among others.
Despite being quite annoying, the rash is usually harmless. However, we always find ourselves crazy to get rid of it! To let more people know how, share this article with your friends and family.