Miliaria – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 27 01:33 2019 Print This Article

Miliaria is a skin disease marked by small and itchy rashes. It is also called as prickly heat or sweat rash. It is generally occurs in hot and humid conditions such as during summers and tropics. It can affect people of all ages and is commonly found in infants and children due to their underdeveloped sweat glands. It can affect up to 30% of the people exposed to such kind of climatic conditions. There are tiny clear or red bumps on the skin which are nothing but the plugged sweat glands with accumulated dead skin cells. Miliaria rubra (prickly heat) is ductal obstruction in the mid-epidermis with retention of sweat in the epidermis and dermis. It causes irritated, pruritic papules (prickling).

Miliaria pustulosa is similar to miliaria rubra but manifests as pustules rather than papules. Miliaria profunda is ductal obstruction at the entrance of the duct into the dermal papillae at the dermo-epidermal junction, with retention of sweat in the dermis. It causes larger, deeper-seated, frequently painful papules. Diagnosis is by clinical appearance in the context of hot environment. Treatment is cooling and drying of the involved areas and avoidance of conditions that may induce sweating; an air-conditioned environment is ideal.

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite which is transmitted from human to human by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Miliaria is a common problem in one to two month old babies. It is caused by blocked pores which are the small openings of sweat glands onto the skin. It tends to be worse in warm weather or if the baby is overheating. It can take different forms. The mildest form appears as tiny blisters that break easily and form fine scales. A more severe form can cause itchy red spots with little blisters which may be prickly or itchy in the heat.

The spots last for a few days but may reoccur. Miliaria then is caused by retained sweat at different levels of the sweat gland and its duct. However it is not known exactly why someone will develop one type of miliaria versus another. Nonetheless the treatment is to cool the skin and the person suffering from the condition and to avoid further exposure to the causative environment.

Causes of Miliaria

Find common causes and risk factors of Miliaria:

  • Staphylococci are associated with miliaria, and antibiotics prevent miliaria in an experimental setting.
  • Change of climate from temperate to a tropical. The condition usually resolves after the individual has lived in the hot, humid conditions for many months.
  • Some researchers found that miliaria crystallina preferentially occurs in UV-exposed skin.
  • Heat and humidity are factors involved in the cause of miliaria
  • There are some drugs which cause or exacerbate miliaria e.g Bethanechol, a drug that promotes sweating, and isotretinoin, a drug that affects follicular differentiation, are reported to cause miliaria.
  • Immature eccrine ducts as in neonates is one cause. These glands easily rupture when sweating is induced; this rupture leads to miliaria.

Signs and Symptoms of Miliaria

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • The rash may itch or sting.
  • Small red rashes.
  • Called papules.
  • Small blisters.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Located on the back, chest, and stomach area
  • Dyspnea, and palpitations.

Treatment for Miliaria

Treatment may include:

  • Antiseptics and antistaphylococcal antibiotics can combat bacterial overgrowth.
  • Cool water compresses and good ventilation will soothe inflamed areas.
  • For more marked cases, mild topical steroids often give reasonable relief of symptoms while natural resolution of the condition is awaited.
  • Calamine lotion Calamine is probably as effective as anything for relief of discomfort, but because of its drying effect an emollient may subsequently be required.
  • Some patients find that using a bath brush with soap to exfoliate the skin will decrease the occurrences of this condition.
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