Every time of year has the potential to exacerbate rashes on the body, but perhaps no season is as irritating to rashes as the summer. As the weather warms up and most people are doing anything they can to spend more time outside, different types of rashes can crop up at unsuspecting times. Here are a few of the rashes most commonly found during the summer months and how to treat and prevent them.
Of the types of rashes that show up most frequently after time spent outside, these two are quite common. The poison ivy skin rash comes from brushing up against the poison ivy plant, which is found across most of North America. This plant grows in wooded areas and can be identified by its three green leaves.
Poison oak, on the other hand, can have three, five, or even seven leaves. While neither of these plants are actually poisonous, the oil they produce causes a blistering skin rash with contact. If you see a raised, red rash that’s accompanied by an intense itch after spending time outdoors, it’s probably one of these two.
Before heading outside, take a look through some photos of these plants so you know how to identify them. Wear long sleeves and long pants, if possible, when spending time hiking or playing in wooded areas. If you do get one of these types of rashes, apply some calamine lotion to soothe the itch. OTC corticosteroids can also offer relief from itching and swelling, which may occur with poison oak or poison ivy skin rashes. If the rash is severe, see a doctor right away to get a stronger-potency corticosteroid prescription.
Heat rash occurs when the pores (sweat glands) become clogged, usually due to the production of excess sweat. The rash is known as miliaria or prickly heat and is typically red and bumpy with an itching or burning sensation accompanying it. In severe cases, the bumps can turn into large red welts.
While heat rash can occur at any time in warm weather, it’s especially common during strenuous physical activity. If you’re susceptible to heat rash, consider exercising indoors on warmer days rather than outside. Above all, stay as hydrated as possible and wear loose-fitting clothing rather than tight fabrics that can trap heat and sweat. Also, avoid using comedogenic (pore-clogging) lotions, oils, or other products that could block the pores and contribute to heat rash.
Heat rash usually dissipates on its own within a few hours to a few days after occuring, but cooling the body down can help diminish the effects of this type of rash. Sitting in front of a fan, in a cold, air conditioned room, or taking a cold shower can help regulate body temperature.
If you’re in the greater New York City area and are struggling with a skin rash on your body, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment. One of our board-certified specialists can examine the rash and properly diagnose it, providing you with the much-needed treatment and relief you’re seeking.