prickly heat (miliaria), inflammatory skin eruption due to obstruction of the sweat glands by keratin, the substance that forms the horny cells of the epidermis. It consists of blisterlike elevations with burning and itching, and is common in infants, obese persons, and those exposed to a hot, moist atmosphere for long periods of time. Relief may be obtained by applying soothing and drying lotions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.