CHENNAI: When an 18-year-old girl Girija developed prickly heat, also known as miliaria rubra, leading to red spots on her body that cause a stinging or pricking sensation on the skin, her mother advised her to apply grounded garlic. Little did they realise that this remedy would cause serious skin infection and it actually, peeled off her skin. That is when, the duo approached a doctor.
But doctors warn against such home remedies for this condition in summer, when there is a rise in the prickly heat cases. “I used to see one or two prickly heat cases weekly in normal days. Now, I have been treating over 30-40 cases in a day,” says Dr G R Ratnavel, head, cosmetology department, Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital.
Prickly heat is caused by the blocking of sweat pores which prevents sweating. This in return increased the temperature of the body. The sweat pores are blocked when prickly heat powder is applied, says Dr Ratnavel.
So, we should avoid applying prickly heat powder. Instead take shower twice a day to keep the body cool, the doctor suggests. “Also avoid home remedies. I have seen cases of severe skin infection from applying turmeric over it and also taking Dettol bath. This kind of remedies will worsen the condition,” adds the skin specialist. In summer, the intensity of ultra violet A and B rays are severe, which damages the skin, so avoiding exposure to sun from 10 am to 3 pm is advisable.
Stay in a well-ventillated room or in a cool place to avoid this condition, else bacterial or fungal infections would affect the skin. Sun screen lotion is recommended, but it depends on how sensitive the body is to the heat. A person, who develops skin irritation after two minutes of exposure, should go for sun screen lotion with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 50. That means, it should be applied every one and half hours. So, every time, that part of the body should be washed properly and applied sun screen lotion. “So, the more sensitive the skin, more SPF is recommended,” says Dr Ratnavel.
Drink 4-5 litres of water a day than the usual 2-2.5 litres on other days. Wear only cotton clothes, avoid doing facial or bleaching the face or any other chemical application during hot sun. Do it after 4 pm, Dr Ratvavel adds.