Breaking News
More (1) »

Spokane's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Spokane, Washington | KREM.com

How to deal with common summer skin conditions

Here are a few common skin conditions that can quickly sideline summer fun.

Few things are more frustrating than an itch. Summer is prime time for all kinds of creepy-crawly sensations on our skin, often accompanied by mysterious rashes.

Sunburn is a big risk in the summer. You know the rules: find the shade, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen! Sunburn isn't the only summer skin problem.

Here are a few common skin conditions that can quickly sideline summer fun.

Plant-related rashes

Many people are allergic to and develop an intensely itchy, red, blistering, rash to urushiol, an oil found in poison ivy , oak and sumac.

Exposure occurs when you touch the plant directly, maybe while gardening, or indirectly, by touching an object that's picked up the oil like a shoe. You can spread the oil wherever you touch your body. Dermatologists say the allergic reaction continues to happen even after you've washed off the oil.

It is not contagious, though you may feel like it's spreading and may last for several weeks. According to doctors, the best treatment is a prescription-strength topical steroid, and an oral steroid for extreme cases.

The best way to avoid this itchy rash is to learn what these plants look like and avoid them.

Heat rash

When you perspire a lot, your clothing or even the material of a chair you're sitting on can block some of the openings in your skin that allow sweat to escape. This causes inflammation and tiny itchy bumps.

It's called prickly heat, because you feel a prickly sensation as the bumps burst and release sweat.

Doctors say the best remedy is to let your skin breathe... Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothes made of cotton. And do your best to keep your skin cool by using fans, cool showers, and air-conditioning when possible.

For immediate relief, try cool compresses or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Sun allergy

Yes, some people can develop hives and have an allergic reaction to the sun. It happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks "foreign" components of skin that have been damaged by sun exposure. It will show up as red, scaly and extremely itchy bumps or blisters on the face, ears and neck.

Sun sensitivity usually runs in the family. It may lessen as summer wears but you may need to stay carefully sun-protected all summer long.

Side effects from your medications

Certain medications can make some people sensitive to the sun's radiation and burn immediately .

The prime suspects for an allergic sun reaction are ketoprofen and ibuprofen that are found in some anti- inflammatory pain drugs like Advil, certain antibiotics and diuretics contraceptive pills and antihistamines.

Take precaution by checking in with your pharmacist and medication container.

Protect your skin from the sun and work with your doctor to see if an alternative treatment is available.

These summer skin problems can dampen your fun but they are usually not serious. Most go away in a few days to a few weeks. However, it's different for poison ivy and if one of these rashes lingers and prevents you from sleeping, working, or relaxing. It is worth contacting your doctor just to get a prescription-strength medication that will improve your symptoms.