Prickly heat: Miliaria the skin problem in summer
As we all know summer is at it’s peak in our nation. We deal with daily maximum temperature reaching to 45 degree C. Additional to that in some parts humidity is high. This weather comes with our favorite mango season. Also it brings hell lot of problems with it.
Body tries to maintain its normal temperature for survival by different homeostatic mechanism. Sweating is one and important of it. So is important is maintaining water level in body by drinking a lot of water.
With over-functioning the sweat glands get adversely affected. This result in variety of conditions affecting skin. One of it considered as minor one but pretty irritation is prickly heat.
What is prickly heat (Miliaria)?
- Prickly heat is a skin condition.
- In medical language it is also known as miliaria.
- Multiple small papules appear on skin. They are numerous and in close proximity.
- Papules mean small conical elevated bumps on skin.
Why does prickly heat appears?
- The simple answer is swelling of sweat glands.
- Essentially because the ducts carrying sweat outside gets block because of some reason.
- This blockade leads to accumulation of sweat in the sweat glands.
- This leads to increase in their size.
- As they are numerous in number but small size they appear like many small bumps when seen collectively.
What happens if aggravated further?
- As we know it is just accumulation of sweat with more the accumulation ore is the size of bumps.
- The size of bumps increase.
- When the limit to hold the sweat by sweat gland is exceeded these secretions seep outside the glands.
- These sweat secretions then enters the dermis and epidermis leyers of the skin.
- Resulting in bumps swelling in size and becoming inflamed.
- If it gets infected by skin bacteria or nails by itching leads to pus formation.
- This leads to painful condition and also may be pus is seen needing medical attention.
- The condition is aggravated fastly leading to formation of boils like condition if you are diabetic or you are young child.
Which Condition leads to aggravated prickly heat?
- Immature sweat glands like in neonates or young infancy.
- Occlusion of skin with patches or bandages.
- Tight Clothing which does not allow air circulation.
- If the person has not been used to hotnd humid climate.
- Hot humid environment.
- Heavy physical work in hot humid environment.
- Radiations like sun and ultraviolate radiations.
How to prevent Prickly heat?
- Avoiding hot humid climate is best strategy.
- Avoid working in hot humid environment is the best way.
- Clothing should be light and not tight allowing air circulation and absorbing sweat, cotton is best.
- Taking frequent showers at least twice a day cleans the skin.
- Fever conditions should be treated promptly.
- If infection is suspected treated with antibiotics topical or oral.
- Some lotions like calamine and boric acid powder can be used in preventive manner.
Dr Yatin Bhole MBBS DCh DNB
Pediatrician in Ravet