How is heat rash treated?

The best way to treat heat rash is to ensure that you get plenty of air circulation around your skin. This means wearing light, loose clothing that will let your skin “breathe.” Staying cool and drinking lots of water can help minimize your symptoms and prevent heat rash from progressing to heat stroke.

Treatments for heat rash

If your heat rash does not resolve, some topical creams are available for treatment including:

  • Anhydrous lanolin, a lubricating ointment
  • Calamine lotion, which reduces itching
  • Steroid creams, which help clear the inflammation

What you can do to improve your heat rash

Self-care measures for treating heat rash include:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eating fruits such as watermelon that have a high water content
  • Moving around to ensure air circulation around your body
  • Staying cool in hot weather by seeking shade or air-conditioned locations
  • Wearing loose clothing made with breathable fabrics such as cotton

What are the potential complications of heat rash?

Although heat rash itself is not serious, it can be associated with environmental conditions such as high temperatures that lead to serious complications such as heat stroke, which is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications associated with heat rash include:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke


  1. Skin rashes and other changes.
  2. Rashes. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. Jardine DS. Heat illness and heat stroke. Pediatr Rev 2007; 28:249.
  4. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

What is heat rash?

Heat rash is one of many different types of rash. Rash is a symptom that causes the affected area to turn red and blotchy and swell. The rash may cause spots that are bumpy, scaly, flaky, or filled with pus. Rashes can vary in location, pattern and extent and may occur in any area of the body.

Heat rash, also called prickly heat or miliaria, occurs when sweat becomes trapped under... Read more about heat rashintroduction


What are the symptoms of heat rash?

Symptoms of heat rash include the appearance of raised bumps on your skin in the affected area that may range in color from clear to red. The type and color of rash depend on the location in the skin where sweat glands are clogged, and symptoms have a range of severity. The mildest form is called miliaria crystalline (clear, raised rash), a blockage of the sweat glands at the top layer of the s... Read more about heat rashsymptoms


What causes heat rash?

Heat rash occurs when sweat becomes trapped under your skin.

Your sweat-producing glands are located in the middle layer of the epidermis. They can become clogged if you are wearing too much clothing (for example, when it is hot outside). Your anatomy can also predispose you to heat rash if you have folds or creases between areas of the skin where sweat can collect. Lotions and cr... Read more about heat rashcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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