Treating Summer Skin Rashes
During the warmer summer months, you are more likely to get a rash from spending additional time outdoors. Rashes can be caused by sunlight, insects, sweating and overheating—especially if you have allergies.
Top 5 Most Common Summer Rashes and How to Treat Them
1. Heat Rash (aka prickly heat): Small, itchy, acne-like bumps on the back and chest after excessive sweating in hot weather can be signs of a heat rash. Treat a heat rash at home with an anti-itch cream and wait for your pores to open back up for the rash to completely go away. If a heat rash does not go away within a week, see your doctor for a stronger medication to open up the pores.
2. Mosquito Bites: Within 24 to 48 hours of being bitten by a mosquito, redness, swelling and a small bump can occur. Treat a mosquito bite at home by using a hydrocortisone cream or taking an antihistamine. If you experience a fever, severe headache or vomiting after a mosquito bite, contact your doctor as it may be a sign of a more serious reaction.
3. Bee Stings: Immediately after being stung, you will feel instant sharp, burning pain at the sting sight. A slightly swelled red welt will form. Bee stings can produce different reactions, from slight pain to a severe allergic reaction. For mild reactions, remove the stinger as soon as you can with a tweezer, wash the area with mild soap and water and then apply a cold compress. If you experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and nausea, it may be a sign of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency treatment. Call 911 if you suspect you or a loved one is having a serious reaction.
4. Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac: Extremely itchy, red, streaky, patchy rashes after being in or near plants are signs of a poison ivy, oak or sumac allergic skin reactions. After contact with these plants, wash your skin and clothing thoroughly with soap and warm water and apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and blistering. Contact your doctor if your itching is severe and cannot be controlled or if your rash shows signs of infection such as leaking fluid or odor.
5. Swimmer’s Itch: Small, red, very itchy bumps or blisters that may also burn after swimming in open water are signs of swimmer’s itch. The rash will go away on its own within a week, but symptoms can be eased with calamine lotion, hydrocortisone creams or antihistamines.
Most of these summer rashes are harmless and will go away on their own. However, severe reactions or symptoms are possible and you should always keep an eye on your symptoms. “Rashes tend to be overlooked and patients may not consider them an issue, but allergic reactions to these are common. Patrick Lee Dominguez, MD, PIH Health Dermatologist says, “Always keep a close eye on your rash and the symptoms you experience. Contact your doctor or dermatologist if you experience any severe reactions or symptoms.”
If you are experiencing a skin issue, visit PIHHealth.org/Dermatology or call 562.789.5429 or 562.567.2851 to schedule an appointment with a PIH Health dermatologist.