Miliaria rubra

Miliaria rubra

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Name: Summer rash, wildlife rash.

Miliaria rubra is caused by the sweat glands in your skin becoming blocked as a result of sweating. The sweat cannot escape through the glands as it normally does so leaks into the skin layers below. This causes tiny spots and bumps to appear on your skin. The condition is usually made worse by hot conditions which cause you to sweat.

Miliaria rubra is a common condition in babies, affecting almost one in 10. It is thought to be caused by under-developed sweat glands. These glands burst easily when a baby sweats causing the duct to become blocked.

In adults, the most common cause of miliaria rubra is being in hot, humid or tropical environments you are not used to. Research has also suggested that too much ultraviolet (UV) from the sun can cause miliaria rubra. Other causes include activity that makes you sweat a lot, such as sport, or having a high fever.

Some medicines also may cause miliaria rubra.

There are several other risk factors including intake of alcohol, smoking, unhealthy and stressful lifestyle, excess consumption of junk food, untimely food eating habits also increases a chance of getting prickly heat.


The main symptom of miliaria rubra is a rash on your skin. Depending on the type of rash you have, this may or may not be itchy.

Miliaria rubra causes red spots on your skin and the skin around the rash is also usually red. It can be very itchy and you may have a prickling sensation on your skin. In babies and young children the rash normally occurs on the neck and in the groin and armpits. In adults, the rash often occurs on the neck and scalp, as well as the upper part of the chest and back.

With miliaria profunda, the spots are quite large with a flesh-colored head. The rash is not usually itchy and normally occurs on your trunk, but can also appear on your arms and legs.


The diagnosis of miliaria rubra is made by physical examination. Knowing that the rash appears during sweating or heat, appreciating the location on the body (in skin creases or where clothes fit tightly) and seeing what the rash looks like is enough to make the diagnosis. As with many rashes, the health care practitioner can look at the involved skin and make the diagnosis.

No tests are needed to diagnose miliaria rubra. However, if you keep having bouts of miliaria rubra, it is important to see your doctor to rule out any other conditions that could look similar or those that could be causing it.


Usually miliaria rubra goes away on its own and does not need any treatment. Miliaria rubra caused by blockages deep in the skin can be uncomfortable and may lead to heat stroke. In these situations, treatment may be necessary.

The aim of treatment is to stop you from sweating. You may be advised to stick to cooler, air-conditioned climates, limit the amount of activity you do and not wear tight clothing. If you have a fever, your doctor will give you treatment to bring your temperature down.

If your rash is particularly itchy or uncomfortable, try using cooling creams such as those containing menthol or calamine.

Antihistamines are generally not helpful in this condition.

Preventive Measures:

    Avoid overdressing.

  • Wear loose cotton clothing to encourage the evaporation of sweat and prevent further skin irritation.

  • Keep baths and showers cool.· Leave a babies nappy off as often as possible.

  • Keep rooms cool (air conditioning will help).

  • Avoid heavy moisturizers. Tender newborn skin tends to be dry and in need of moisturizing. But heavy, oil-based creams can be a problem. 'Moisturize with a light, water-based lotion instead.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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