Summer weather creates the perfect climate for skin rashes to occur. The heat and sweat caused by the sun can be triggers for various rashes and outdoor activities can increase the risk of rashes from plants and stinging insects. Below is a list of common summer skin rashes and ways to reduce symptoms or avoid them altogether.

  1. Sunlight, becoming overheated, or becoming sweaty can trigger hives. Some ways to lessen the chances of a hives outbreak are to wear sunscreen, avoid becoming too hot, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. If you do become overheated find a place to cool off and rehydrate.
  2. Eczema can worsen during the summer due to sweating, increase in pollen counts, and poor air quality. Maintain a skin care plan through these months using a gentle skin cleanser, moisturizing lotion, and waterproof barrier cream.
  3. Poison oak and poison ivy can both lead to itchy rashes. When hiking or walking through tall grass keep in mind the saying “leaves of three, let them be.” Consider wearing long pants, socks, and closed shoes if out participating in these activities as they will decrease the possibility of skin contact with plants. If you think you have come in contact with one of these plants immediately wash area with soap and water. Also wash clothing, garden tools, pets, and any other items that may have come in contact with the plant as the toxic oil can be spread via these routes.
  4. The incidence of bug bites, such as mosquitos, increases during the summer months as people are spending more time outside and the weather is warm. Many people may have local reactions to bites that can itch, swell, and become red or sore. The use of bug spray can help with the prevention of bites. An over the counter anti-itch cream, elevation of area, and cool compresses can alleviate symptoms.  Clean area with mild soap and water in order to prevent infection.
  5. Stinging insects, such as fire ants, bees, and wasps, can not only cause a local reaction but also a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis that requires emergency treatment.  A life-threatening reaction can consist of a local reaction at the site of sting as well as difficulty breathing, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, or swelling of the lips/tongue. If you have any of these symptoms after an insect sting it is important to seek immediate treatment and follow-up with an allergist in order to implement an emergency action plan.