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Relieve the Itch! Treatment Tips for Common Summer Rashes

summer rash causing itchThe heat of summer is likely affecting you and your family in a number of ways. From a higher air conditioning bill to avoiding outdoor activities in the middle of the day, the hot, humid days can take a toll. Summer is also a prime time for skin rashes. Discover how to get relief from these four common summer rashes and learn when you need to seek medical treatment.

Poison Oak or Ivy Rash

It’s the oil in poison oak, ivy, and sumac that causes an allergic reaction in many people. These rashes are typically red, itchy, blistering, and sometimes oozing. A rash can develop two to ten days after exposure to a poisonous plant.

The best treatment is a prescription-strength topical steroid, or in extreme cases, an oral steroid. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone may help a mild case of poison oak or poison ivy. A cool compress or oatmeal bath can also help calm the itch of these rashes.

Heat Rash

Blocked sweat glands can lead to tiny red spots on the skin, and you may feel a prickling sensation. These spots will usually fade when the skin is allowed to cool.  After cooling off the affected area, dry the skin, and try to let the area be exposed to air. Typically, heat rash will clear up on its own, but younger children may scratch enough for the rash to become infected, which requires medical treatment.

You can help prevent heat rash by wearing loose-fitting clothing made of cotton. Keeping cool with fans, air conditioning, and showers can also help you avoid the discomfort of a heat rash.

Tinea Versicolor

Everyone naturally has yeast present on the skin, but in hot weather, the yeast can begin to grow, creating a rash that typically looks like dark or red spots on the back and chest. It tends to be more prominent in teens and young adults.

Treatment may include an anti-fungal cream, lotion, soap, or shampoo. In cases that cover a large area of the body, a short-term, oral medication may be prescribed.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes bites cause red, itchy, swollen bumps. Hydrocortisone or an over-the-counter antihistamine can provide relief. A few people may have a hypersensitivity reaction, which could require a prescription hydrocortisone cream.

If you are using a bug repellant with DEET to prevent bites, apply it only once a day to avoid a toxic buildup on your skin. DEET is not recommended for children younger than 2 months old, and for any child, the DEET concentration should not exceed 30 percent.

Get Convenient Summer Rash Treatment with an Online Visit

If you need medical attention for a rash, Cone Health Connected Care offers convenient and secure online visit options. Sign up for a video visit, phone visit, or e-Visit with our board-certified medical team. We’ll diagnose your rash, recommend the best treatment for you, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying itch-free days — all from the convenience of your home, office, or even vacation.

  • Video and phone visits are offered for adults and children 24/7.
  • When you download the Cone Health Virtual Visit App, you can connect easily from your phone or tablet.  Visit the App Store or the Google Play store to get your Virtual Visit App.  
  • E-Visits, which allow you to upload photos of your rash with your symptom questionnaire, are available for patients 18 years or older, seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
  • You can access e-Visits through MyChart.
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