"Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin' dirty an' gritty..." When John Sebastian sang those lyrics in 1966 he could have been talking about heat rash - a common skin irritation that's associated with steamy, hot weather.
If you've noticed small, itchy, prickly red bumps or blisters forming where your sweat accumulates (under the breasts, in folds of skin around the neck, groin, armpits and creases of the elbows) you may be prone to heat rash. Adults get it too - not just babies.
It may come from having an extra dose of a common skin-dwelling bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. The bacteria produce a slightly sticky substance, and when combined with sweat and dead skin cells, it can clog your pores, and that rash appears!
But heat rash isn't an infection - not unless you scratch it and break the skin, allowing bacteria to get in and start trouble. In fact, with a few smart steps, the rash usually will go away quite quickly. And you can keep it from coming back!
1. Avoid heavy creams in vulnerable areas. Use cornstarch or talc-free powder to keep areas dry. And try calamine lotion to ease the itch.
2. Wear light, absorbent cotton or wicking materials that draw moisture away from the skin. And avoid skin-tight clothing. Skinny jeans can become itchy jeans!
3. Take a cool bath or shower without harsh soaps, and dry off thoroughly.
4. If the rash doesn't fade in three to four days, see your doctor.
© King Features Syndicate