Heat rash causes small, itchy raised spots anywhere on the body.
You can ease heat rash by keeping your skin cool. A damp cloth, ice pack (wrapped in a tea towel) or medicines from a pharmacy can help any itchiness.
Heat rash can happen if your sweat glands become blocked and sweat gets trapped in them.
The symptoms of heat rash are:
- small, raised spots
- an itchy, prickly feeling
- mild swelling
The rash often looks red, but this may be less obvious on brown or black skin.
The symptoms of heat rash are often the same in adults and children.
It can appear anywhere on the body and spread, but it cannot be passed on to other people.
Heat rash appears as raised spots that are 2mm to 4mm across. Some spots may be filled with fluid.
The main thing to do is keep your skin cool so you do not sweat and irritate the rash.
To keep your skin cool
- wear loose cotton clothing
- use lightweight bedding
- take cool baths or showers
- drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration
To calm the itching or prickly feeling
- apply something cold, such as a damp cloth or ice pack (wrapped in a tea towel) for up to 20 minutes
- tap or pat the rash instead of scratching it
- do not use perfumed shower gels or creams
Speak to a pharmacist about heat rash. They can give advice and suggest the best treatment to use.
A pharmacist might recommend:
- calamine lotion
- antihistamine tablets
- hydrocortisone cream – though not for children under 10 or pregnant women as they need to get advice from a doctor before using this treatment
Heat rash is usually caused by excessive sweating.
Sweat glands get blocked and the trapped sweat leads to a rash developing a few days later.
Babies often get heat rash because they cannot control their temperature as well as adults and children can.
Page last reviewed: 15-02-2021
Next review due:15-02-2024