Wow, temps are supposed to hit 90 degrees in the next few days, and that might bring heat rash, heat stroke or heat exhaustion to a senior near you. Every summer, people suffer from these heat sicknesses. Today, let’s talk about heat rash.
Heat rash happens when we sweat, but the sweat can’t get to our skin surface because our sweat glands are clogged. Heat rash (also called prickly heat or milaria) is uncomfortable, although not dangerous. More to the point, heat rash can be relieved by giving yourself a good scrub in a warm (not hot) shower, which can also cool you off. Seniors who may not shower much because of fragile skin or safety issues can enjoy warm water wash cloth rinses that will stimulate skin, unclog pores and perhaps prevent heat rash. Any skin inflmations with fragile seniors can be worrisome, so it’s far better to prevent heat rash, and more comfortable, too.
Heat rash often shows itself as red bumps under the skin, or sometimes little blisters, clustered together and mildly itchy. Keep skin uncovered as much as possible so that circulating air can help dry your skin and keep you cool.
Since heat rash might be caused by moisturing skin lotions, body power or talcum powder, or even baby powder, keep a special eye on skin creases and folds, and wear loose, unrestrictive clothing. Babies often get heat rash. While infants get heat rash partially because their sweat glands are immature, seniors on the other end of the age spectrum might get heat rash because they aren’t as able to regulate their body temperature as easily as younger people.
How to avoid heat rash
There are some easy ways to avoid heat rash.
- take warmish showers and clean off any sunscreen or body lotions
- stay cool. Work in the garden or exercise in the coolest part of the day.
- stay hydrated, so that you can sweat freely
- use a fan to circulate air and cool your skin
- keep skin uncovered as much as possible to allow air to circulate
- use a wet washcloth on your neck, underarms and inside elbows during the day to cool off and keep sweat glands clear