Unless we’re relaxing in a sauna, few of us enjoy sweating. That said, perspiration is pivotal to maintaining our body’s internal temperature. When things get too hot, our sweat glands normally spring into action, releasing moisture that cools us down.
But what happens if our sweat glands don’t or can’t do their job properly? In the worst-case scenario, you could suffer from heatstroke. In less severe cases, though, you might develop a heat rash.
Heat rash (or miliaria) occurs when sweat glands get clogged up so sweat can’t escape and remains stuck underneath the skin. This type of skin rash tends to form around skin folds and often features several small blisters in isolated areas.
Heat rash can be caused by a number of factors. For instance, those with underdeveloped sweat ducts (commonly children) may experience heat rash more frequently. Also, prolonged physical activity that leads to excessive sweating can overwhelm sweat glands and lead to heat rash. Further, wearing tight clothing can prevent sweat from escaping and evaporating normally.
Bed rest patients are also at increased risk of heat rash since they have limited mobility and may suffer from fevers. These factors make it somewhat challenging to treat heat rash in patients stuck in bed, but there are still plenty of ways to alleviate the symptoms. Here are some effective ways to soothe heat rash for bed rest patients.
Most cases of heat rash go away on their own once the body has some time to cool down. If someone on bed rest is confined to a warm area and/or has a fever, their heat rash will linger and possibly worsen.
Make sure the patient is resting in a cool but comfortable environment so their body temperature can get back to normal. If you don’t have access to central air conditioning, set up fans to keep the air flowing.
Bed rest patients shouldn’t wear uncomfortable, tight clothing, either, as this traps heat and irritates the skin. Wearing light, loose clothing allows skin to breathe and find a stable temperature. Plus, this clothing is more comfortable and better suited for bed rest in general. It might be tempting to pile on heavy blankets, but too much coverage can cause you to overheat, too.
Humidity can also contribute to heat rash and prevent it from clearing up. So, in addition to keeping the room cool, keep it dry. You can do this by ensuring the area is well ventilated and by installing one or more dehumidifiers.
Drinking fluids helps patients recover from a number of illnesses. When it comes to heat rash treatment, drinking plenty of cold water helps the body cool down internally, which will gradually relieve heat rash symptoms like pain, itching, and inflammation.
Bed rest patients often suffer from fevers, which heat up the body and can lead to or worsen their heat rash. Therefore, one way to soothe heat rash in bed rest patients is to reduce their fever.
Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help lower one’s fever and mitigate pain and discomfort. Other over-the-counter drugs like corticosteroids and antihistamines can reduce swelling and itching and dry out the rash. These drugs are useful against other types of rashes, too.
Having heat rash is bad enough, but being stuck in bed at the same time can make for a trulymiserable experience. By staying cool and dry, drinking loads of cold water, and taking the proper amount of over-the-counter medications, you can soothe that heat rash without leaving the bed.
For more information on how to treat a rash, whether it’s a heat rash or something else, seek advice from a dermatologist. If you don’t know where to turn, the experts at Southeast Dermatology Specialists are happy to help. Contact us to learn more about our services and providers.