Health Care

Fast Facts on Summer Rashes

A woman on her couch and using her tablet

Don’t let itchy rashes put a damper on your fun this summer. Keep an eye out for common, irritating skin conditions that our Centra Care physicians often treat this time of year — and learn when a doctor might be able to help.

Plant Rash Facts: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Did you know not everyone is allergic to the oil produced by poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants? Those folks might be a lucky few, but for most people, crossing paths with these plants means getting a red, itchy rash.

Fast facts:

  • If you come into contact with a poisonous plant, immediately wash your skin, clothes and shoes thoroughly
  • Oil from these plants can be carried on clothes, animals, gear or tools and easily spread to other areas of your skin
  • The rash develops within a few days of touching the plant and may last several weeks
  • When items that have touched these plants aren’t cleaned, the oil can remain

The itching from these rashes can be intense. A doctor can prescribe a topical steroid to provide relief. If you have a severe reaction, you may need an oral steroid, or steroid shot, to help.

Heat-Related Rash Facts: Sunburn and Heat Rash

The red, painful skin of sunburn and the itchy bumps of heat rash are generally easy to identify. However, since they may not develop until several hours after your sun or heat exposure, it’s important to take measures ahead of time to protect your skin.

Fast facts:

  • Even on days when the sky is cloudy, it’s possible to get a sunburn or heat rash
  • Plan your activities to be inside during the sun’s peak hours (10 am to 2 pm)
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep your skin dry and cool

If you get a sunburn, you can apply aloe to soothe the skin. For heat rash, try putting a cool compress or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on the area. If the condition persists or you develop other symptoms like a fever, you can see a Centra Care physician by walking in or making an online reservation. This summer, we’re here to help you stay healthy and comfortable.

Find a Centra Care location near you.

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