When you’ve waited all year for warm, sunny weather and lots of outdoor activity, the last thing you want to deal with is skin rashes. From hives to heat rash, summer can irritate the skin and cause all types of rashes. Here’s how to treat and prevent them.
Simply put, rashes are caused by exposure to any stimuli that irritate the skin. These stimuli can include external substances -- like certain plants, chemicals, or dyes -- or internal elements like viral infections, fungal infections, yeast, mold, bacteria, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs.)
While healthy skin provides a physical barrier between the outside environment and the inside of the body, rashes are often the first sign that something in the environment is a threat. Unfortunately, this signal can happen even when the stimuli isn’t an actual threat. For example, someone can develop skin rashes every time they’re around cats. While cat dander isn’t threatening to most people, it is for those who are allergic. That’s why allergy testing is an important part of getting to the bottom of frequent rashes.
The types of rashes most common in the summer include poison ivy and poison oak rashes, hives, and heat rash. The poison ivy rash affects most people who come into contact with the oil produced from the poison ivy plant. Found in many wooded areas, poison ivy can be identified by its three green leaves. On the other hand, poison oak -- while it has the same effect of causing rashes -- isn’t always easily identified. Poison oak might have three, five, or seven leaves. These two plants cause red, raised rashes that itch terribly. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what these plants look like and to wear long clothing if spending time around them.
Heat rash is caused by clogged pores. The glands are oversaturated with excess sweat, causing the type of skin rash known as miliaria or prickly heat. While it can be itchy as well, it’s usually characterized by a tingling or burning sensation. Red bumps or welts often accompany this rash. If you’re experiencing heat rash frequently, reconsider strenuous physical activity outside and opt for an air-conditioned gym if possible. Avoid wearing clothing that traps heat and sweat, like polyester. If you get a heat rash, cool down in front of a fan or by taking a cold shower.
Hives are another type of skin rash most common during summer. Hives -- also known as urticaria, welts, or wheals -- are characterized by a red, raised, itchy skin rash. This rash can be caused by many factors, including medications, allergic reactions, and infections -- but the cause isn’t always identified. Hives can also happen as a result of insect stings, which make them particularly common in the summer when people are spending more time outdoors.
If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and suffering from any skin rashes this summer, contact The Dermatology Group today for an appointment. We can diagnose and treat any of these common rashes, as well as performing allergy testing in our office, if necessary.