Understanding Sweat Rash

How to Treat Sweat Rashes

Applying topical creams like calamine lotion help control sweat rash.
Applying topical creams like calamine lotion help control sweat rash.
Jakob Helbig/Riser/Getty Images

The good news: Most mild cases of sweat or heat rash dissipate on their own, according to the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Health System. However, there are ways to nudge along the healing process and avoid reoccurrences. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Try and get your skin as cool and dry as possible.
  • Follow up by applying topical creams such as calamine lotion to the infected areas, or anti-fungal creams containing hydrocortisone, which reduces inflammation. 
  • See a doctor if there is an increase in swelling or redness after a few days; if there is pus draining from the bumps; or if you have swollen lymph nodes or fever or chills. These are all signs of infection.

If you are prone to heat rash, avoid sticky situations by seeking out cool or air-conditioned places. This will reduce your likelihood of sweating in the first place. Whenever possible, skip overcrowded, hot places such as summer outdoor concerts and festivals. You should also forgo tight clothing in favor of breathable fabrics and fits, and omit greasy body lotions or gels from your daily routine. These cosmetics can block pores or irritate skin.

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  • Braff, Danielle. "Beat the heat: how to recognize and treat heat rash, heat stroke, and exhaustion." Chicago Tribune. May 27, 2010. (Sept. 30, 2010)http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-05-27/health/sc-health-0526-heat-rash-20100526_1_heat-exhaustion-weak-pulse-sweat-glands
  • The Mayo Clinic. "Heat Rash." (Sept. 30, 2010).http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-rash/DS01058
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Rash - child under 2 years." Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. (Oct. 4, 2010).http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003259.htm
  • University of Michigan Health System. "Heat Rash." (Oct. 4, 2010).http://health.med.umich.edu/healthcontent.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=6&action=detail&AEProductID=HW_Knowledgebase&AEArticleID=sig245997spec