How to Treat Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)


We’re having something akin to an Indian Summer in Ireland at the moment, and while the sunshine is much welcomed, there is one nasty side effect that is getting under my skin at the moment and that is the prickly topic of “Heat Rash”.  As someone who has suffered from heat rash for years, it’s a topic close to my heart.  And I’m not alone – Irish people are particularly prone to this condition as we have pale, sensitive skin, which is not typically exposed to heat/sun/humidity.

Causes of Heat Rash

Heat Rash is caused by a blockage of the sweat glands, which causes the skin to break out into an unsightly rash of tiny red bumps.  It is usually prompted by exposure to humid weather is the cause and can develop very suddenly.


The degree of discomfort varies from person to person; however, it’s common to feel an itchy or ‘stinging’ sensation.   The skin will develop a rash, consisting of tiny red bumps.  Mild fever and fatigue are commonly associated.

How to Treat Heat Rash

  • Keep your skin cool: Wear light and loose clothing, drink plenty of cool drinks, take a cool shower, reside in an air-conditioned environment or stay in the shade as much as possible etc.  If the rash is particularly bad, cool compresses can help.
  • Wear Natural Fabrics: Avoid wearing clothing with synthetic fibres and instead go for natural fabrics such as cotton or linen.
  • Wear Suncream: If you are exposing yourself to the sun, ensure that you use an allergy-sensitive suncream.  My favourite is Piz Buin Allergy.
  • Calamine Lotion: Calamine Lotion can soothe the skin, but needs to be reapplied regularly.
  • Medication: Antihistamine tablets can work effectively in alleviating the symptoms of Heat Rash.  Be sure to contact your GP before taking any medication.
  • Avoid Scratching: As much as it might drive you demented, avoid scratching the skin, as this will only aggravate the condition.
  • Products to Avoid: Avoid applying products the skin that will aggravate the sensitivity e.g. perfumed lotions, sprays etc.  Avoid products that will further prevent sweating e.g. anti-perspirant deodorants, oil-based creams etc.
  • Vitamins: Incorporate foods that are rich in Vitamins A and C into your diet.

Piz Buin Allergy

Heat Rash must be watched carefully.  If the symptoms exacerbate or if the patient develops high fever, dizziness, nausea, confusion, weakness etc., then seek medical attention immediately.


2 Responses to “How to Treat Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)”

  1. anne marie says:

    hi caroline love what you have wrote i do use the pisbuin very good what is best to take for vitamins A and C AND MY LAST QUESTION IF I GO TO THE DOCTOR WHAT IS THE name of the anithistamine that i can ask for i have tryed all the otc ones no good and i am not looking forward to going away in the sun if i get all these lumps and the scratching thank you anne

  2. Caroline says:

    Hi Anne Marie, thanks for your comment. Heat rash / prickly heat is a pain isn’t it! I usually buy the generic vitamin brands that are either in my local chemist or health food shop (Sona, for example, is an Irish brand that is widely available). Regarding your antihistamine query – as I have no medical training I can’t make any recommendations regarding brands; however, I suggest that you discuss it with your local pharmacist or GP who will recommend the best product for your particular symptoms. Be sure to disclose any underlying medical conditions, allergies or other concerns to your medical practitioner as these may determine which medicines you can / cannot take. Enjoy your holidays and I hope that you manage to avoid the dreaded prickly heat! All the best, Caroline

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