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A Severe Case Of Heat Rash

How to treat a severe case of heat rash.

After being in Belize for only three weeks I have already developed a severe case of the heat rash. Sun, surf and warm, humid air doesn’t go so well with fair complexion and sensitive skin. We are house sitting a small Eco-friendly resort in the Southern part of Belize, to be exact, we are located just off Monkey River Village in the Toledo district.

As of today we have been in the country for exactly 21 days and for the past nine days my skin has been covered with tiny red bumps. The heat rash, also called a sweat rash, started out on my forearms!

I have had these little bumps on my arms before, like I mentioned earlier, I have sensitive skin. Even a hot, humid early summer day in Minnesota can make me break out, but it has never spread past my inner wrists for some reason and it never lasted for more than a day.

The heat rash covered about 85% of my body, from my face all the way down to my ankles.

how to treat Heat Rash on arms

It started with a Heat Rash on my arms

Severe Heat Rash on Face and Neck

Severe Heat Rash on Face and Neck

The severe rash on my face looked and felt the worst! Yuck!!! I needed to treat this fast.

On the third morning after the rash on my arms started, my face felt puffy, itchy and my skin was burning all at the same time. When I looked in the mirror I hardly recognized myself. I looked and felt horrible! The heat rash was all over my face and neck.

The little bumps developed on my stomach, my butt and all over my legs. I could feel them whenever I touched my skin and it felt weird. I really wasn’t itching all that much, only from time to time one spot or another would start to itch. I tried very hard not to give in. By this time I have already looked at numerous websites like the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and asked several people to make sure it wasn’t an allergic reaction or what they call a divers rash. We did just spend several days on a sailboat and went snorkeling.

Here is the official description of a Heat Rash (courtesy of mayoclinic.org):
“Heat rash — also known as prickly heat and miliaria — isn’t just for babies. Though it’s common in infants, heat rash can affect adults, too, especially during hot, humid weather.  Heat rash develops when your sweat ducts — commonly referred to as pores — become blocked and perspiration is trapped under your skin. Symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Some forms of heat rash can be intensely itchy or cause a prickly feeling.”

How To Treat Heat Rash

I used Cortizone on my face twice a day, gently rubbing in a small amount, about the size of a pea, and after two days I started seeing improvements. I also rubbed some of the Cortizone cream on my forearms, I didn’t have a large enough tube to use it all over my body though. I took several cold showers over the next few days, stayed out of the sun and wore only very loose fitting clothes.

The discomfort lasted longer than I had anticipated and on top of the misery that it inflected I was irritable. If you’ve ever had the feeling that you wanted to get out of your own skin than you will know how this feels. Lucky for me, the couple that owns the property about 1/4 mile down the beach from us are both former doctors. I finally broke down and asked their opinion and they both verified the heat rash and gave me a small bottle of over the counter antihistamine (allergy relief pills).

After taking only three pills a day for three days, I am very happy to report that the heat rash bumps are slowly receding and I’m starting to feel like myself again.

My remedy for severe heat rash:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible
  • Wear a wide brimmed sun hat
  • Wear loose fitting clothing made of natural fibers
  • Take cold showers to soothe your skin
  • Apply Cortizone cream sparingly
  • Take antihistamine pills as needed
  • Don’t scratch your skin

Be sure to keep these heat rash travel tips in mind when visiting a hot and humid environment like Belize. You don’t want to ruin your fun in the sun vacation.

Have you had a severe heat rash before? Let me know what worked for you in the comments below.

 

5 Responses to A Severe Case Of Heat Rash

  • I have sun sensitivity, so I get heat rash/sunburn quite easily. 2 months ago, I went to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, and my mom suggested I wear a hoodie to protect my skin from the hot California sun. BAD IDEA!!! I suffered severe heat rash. It was mainly on my arms. Immediately after returning to my cousin’s house (where I stayed), I showered, put some ice on my arms, and applied cortisone cream daily several times for the next week or two. It healed, but it left a few faint scars on my wrists. Is there any way of getting rid of old scars from heat rash??? Or at least fade them????

    Lesson learned: NEVER EVER wear a hoodie in hot weather. It protects you from the sun, but not from heat rash.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with us. A loose fitting, very light weight cotton shirt and a wide brimmed hat are the best choices to protect your skin from sun exposure. Now that you’ve had a severe case of heat rash you will need to be even more careful in the future. For the scars you can purchase over the counter creams to help fade them quicker. They will disappear over time, I have a few small spots that are faded to the point were they’re no longer noticeable.

  • Hello! I am so thankful to have found your site. I have been suffering from heat rash/ prickly heat on my face and neck for about four years. I used to live in the South and nothing… Ever since moving to Minnesota, when Spring starts to rear it’s head and we have our first beautiful, warm day my face and neck break out in a horrible rash. The only thing that seems to help is SPF 50, which I always wear now, but on this first nice day, my face is almost complete rash. I wanted to ask what over the counter antihistamine pills you recommend? Just Claritin? I would love to know what worked for you! Thank you-

    • Oh jeez Jennifer, I’m sorry to hear about your rash. How strange that it only started after moving North. Usually it’s not very humid in the Spring in MN so maybe it is a different pollen or something else that’s causing the rash? Anyway, I took over the counter Benedryl for two or three days (can’t remember exactly for how long but it wasn’t very long, I don’t like taking pills) and then the cream. We now live in Hawaii and so far I haven’t had another break out. Please let me know how things turn out for you. Good luck and best wishes, Silke

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