So you found a vacation spot without any mosquitoes, spiders, or poisonous plants? Awesome! Alas, if you brought your skin with you there are still some skin conditions that are especially common in the summer that can still find you J: Heat Rash, Swimmer's Itch, Hives & Sunburn.

(Photo from Mayo Clinic)
 

Heat Rash

What is it?

Heat rash, also commonly known as “prickly heat,” is a rash that occurs when sweat gets stuck beneath the skin instead of evaporating, which causes inflammation and leads to a rash. It may be itchy and feel like you’re being pricked with a pin (hence the nickname “prickly” heat).

Who gets it?

It is most common in children, but adults get it as well. Sweating, overheating, hot & humid weather and using heavy creams can all contribute to heat rash.

What are the symptoms?

Heat rash typically appears as either (a) clear blisters that break easily; (b) itchy, red bumps that feel prickly; or (c) firm skin-colored bumps that look similar to goose bumps that appear soon after sweating or exercise

How do I treat it?

Calamine lotion may help soothe the area. Cool compresses, and cooling down in general is a main way to alleviate the symptoms. If you know you are prone to heat rash, I suggest wearing looser clothing (helps your skin air out and get less clogged) and/or moisture-wicking materials if you will be sweating.

For more information, please visit the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-rash/basics/definition/con-20033908)

 

(Photo from Mayo Clinic)
 

Swimmer’s Itch

What is it?

Swimmer’s itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, is a rash that you may get from being in lakes or ponds and sometimes the ocean (typically fresh water bodies of water, but occasionally cercarial dermatitis happens in salt water). It occurs when certain microscopic parasites get into your skin, causing an allergic reaction and a rash.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include small reddish pimples or blisters and/or tingling or itching of the skin that may show up within minutes of swimming or even days later.

How do I treat it?

Over-the-counter antihistamines or corticosteroids will help a lot. Cool compresses, baths using oatmeal, Epsom salt or baking soda, and/or using a paste of baking soda & water on the affected area(s) can all also help to relieve the symptoms.

For more information, please visit the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/swimmers-itch/basics/definition/con-20030150) or the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html)

 

(Photo from the AAD)
 

Hives

What is it?

Hives are welts that appear on the skin in reaction to an allergen, infection, stress, scratching, exercise, or even exposure to sun, heat, cold or water.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms are the welts. Welts are typically pink or red, raised lesions on the skin. They may be large or small, alone or in a group.

In severe cases, you may also experience swelling of the throat, lips or eyelids. If so, go to the emergency room ASAP.

How do I treat it?

For a mild case, OTC cortisones and antihistamines will help with any itching and inflammation. Cool compresses & cool showers can also help to alleviate the symptoms.

If your hives are more intense and more frequent, your doctor may prescribe an epi-pen or similar medication.

As mentioned above, if you have swelling on your face or throat, go to the emergency room ASAP. Do not try to treat it yourself.

For more information, please visit the AAD http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/hives

 

Sunburn

No explanation needed on what it looks like or what causes it right? Sun Safe practices will reduce the chances of getting burned, but let’s face it, most (if not all) of us have gotten at least one before because we missed a spot somewhere, or we were having so much fun we forgot to  re-apply. It happens. So what do I recommend you do:

*Place a cool, damp towel on the sunburned skin. This helps cool the area down and add some moisture back into the skin. Cool showers/baths are also helpful. After you bathe, gently pat your skin dry, leaving some moisture in your skin. Then, apply your lotion to seal in some of that water.

*Lotions containing aloe vera or soy can also help to soothe the skin. Try to avoid moisturizers that contain petroleum (this can trap heat in your skin, which can make it worse) and benzocaine or lidocaine (both of which may irritate the skin further)

*Drink extra water. Dehydration is common with sunburns, so drinking more water will help with healing as well as overall health.

*Take extra precautions to protect the sunburned skin from further sun damage

If you have any other symptoms with the sunburn, such as weakness, dizziness, nausea, etc., then see a doctor as soon as you can. You may have heat stroke or another health complication.

BLOG DISCLAIMER: Information on this blog is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any skin ailment. Please make an appointment with your physician for personalized medical advice. 

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