You may hope to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine this summer, but you’ll get more than you bargained for if you come home with a rash. Here’s how to prevent and treat five common summertime rashes.
Contact Dermatitis from Poisonous Plants
Poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac secrete oil that causes an allergic skin rash on contact. The affected skin develops a red, itchy, blistering, oozing rash. The reaction continues to unfold even after you wash off the plant oil.
To avoid exposure to poisonous plants, learn what they look like so you can steer clear. The best treatment is to apply a wet compress and prescription-strength steroid cream.
Ticks spread several illnesses, including Lyme disease. If you develop a bull’s-eye rash, this could mean you’re in the early stages of this illness, so don’t ignore it. The rash may be warm to the touch but is not usually painful or itchy.
To prevent tick bites, apply tick repellant and wear long sleeves and long pants when exploring wooded areas. If a bull’s-eye rash appears on your skin, even not at the bite site, ask a doctor about beginning antibiotic treatment.
Heat Rash or Prickly Heat
Clusters of small, red blisters that appear when exerting yourself in hot weather are a sign of heat rash. The rash results from blocked sweat ducts, so it usually occurs around the neck, armpits, groin, or elbow creases. An itchy or prickly sensation may occur.
To guard against heat rash, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes and limit intense outdoor activity during the hottest times of the day. If heat rash develops, retreat to a cool place and apply baby powder to soothe the itchiness.
Mild sunburn causes the skin to redden after overexposure to the sun. More severe cases may cause the skin to peel or blister.
To protect yourself from sunburn, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Protective clothing can help as well. If you get burned, soothe your skin with a cool shower and chilled aloe vera. Then, drink lots of water and wear loose clothing over the affected area.
Swimming in natural bodies of water can lead to swimmer’s itch, a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to parasites that live in lakes, ponds, and oceans. If exposed, blisters or welts may appear anywhere on your body.
To keeps parasites at bay, apply water-resistant sunscreen before jumping in unchlorinated water. Then, rinse with clean water and vigorously dry yourself with a towel after swimming. If you develop swimmer’s itch, rest assured that the rash typically clears up within a week. In the meantime, you can control itching with oral antihistamines and over-the-counter itch cream.
Many summertime rashes can be treated at home, but others require prescription medication. If a rash is bothering you, don’t suffer needlessly—visit Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology in Salt Lake City or South Jordan for the care you need. Contact us today at 801-682-4715 to ask questions or schedule a consultation.