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5 Ways to Treat Heat Rash in Bed Rest Patients

Did you know that heat rash doesn’t only affect infants and young children? Heat rash can affect a person of any age for a variety of reasons, but bed rest patients are particularly at risk.

Heat Rash Isn’t Just From the Hot Weather

While many people believe heat rash only occurs because due to hot and humid weather, bed rest patients are at high risk for reasons unrelated to the weather. Heat rash can develop when pores trap sweat beneath the skin. It can be especially visible in those who experience excessive sweating. Once the sweat is trapped, you will likely begin to see blisters, red lumps and even a prickly, intense itch in some places.

Heat rash prevention can include simple daily changes such as taking a cold shower, keeping your living space cold, avoiding thick ointments, and applying cool compresses to the skin. If heat rash has already made an appearance, treatments can include the following:

1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Lotions

Heat rash often causes itching and bumps. OTC items help keep the rash dry, stop itching, and prevent other bumps from forming. The best remedies include calamine lotion, aloe vera, corticosteroid cream, and antihistamines.

If you can’t find an OTC lotion, try making your own. Sandalwood powder mixed with water creates a paste-like substance. This anti-inflammatory should reduce itching and pain in bed rest patients who have heat rash. Mix two parts sandalwood powder with one part water and test the paste on skin not affected by heat rash. If there is no reaction over the course of one hour, apply it to the affected skin.

2. Use Cold Water

Another important heat rash treatment is as simple as using cold water. Showering and bathing in cold water will help soothe itchy and bumpy skin. After bathing, be sure to allow skin to air-dry rather than toweling off, which could block your pores and contribute to the heat rash. Cool compresses can also help alleviate heat rash symptoms and pain.

3. Have a Drink

…of cold water, that is! Bed rest patients with heat rash should drink plenty of cold water to not only stay hydrated, but to maintain cooler body temperatures. Cooler body temperatures will help relieve your itching and sensations of pain.

4. Unblock Your Sweat Glands

The main cause of heat rash is blocked sweat glands. Once heat rash is apparent in a bed rest patient, it’s important to remove any kind of tight clothing from around the waist, abdomen, chest, or groin that might be preventing sweat from evaporating. Change into lightweight clothing to avoid sweat accumulating on skin. Additionally, avoid using any heavy creams, lotions with oil, or large bandages that can trap in body heat.

5. Oatmeal

Believe it or not, oatmeal is a known home remedy for heat rash – but we aren’t going to have you eat it. Start a lukewarm bath and mix in one or two cups of oatmeal with the water. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes to feel relief from the heat rash. Additionally, you can mix 1 part oatmeal to 1 part water until it forms a paste. Next, gently apply the paste to the affected areas.

Bed rest patient or not, if you think you have heat rash or symptoms of heat rash, be sure to contact Dermatology of Cape Cod for help with these and other treatment solutions. 

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