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It’s summer … time to sit back, relax by the pool, and enjoy some sun! But taking it easy is hard when you’re plagued by an itchy rash. If you’ve contracted an irritating skin condition, you need to know what it is in order to treat it. FastMed Urgent Care can give you pointers on the most common of these summer maladies and how to deal with them.

Types of Rash

1) Heat Rash

Fun in the sun can often lead to heat rash, an annoyance caused by blocked sweat glands. 

  • Heat rash presents as reddened skin with tiny bumps or blisters, and feels itchy or “prickly.”
  • It proliferates in areas of the body that are — you guessed it! — too hot.
  • Dampness and poor air circulation also contribute.
  • To treat and avoid heat rash, wear loose clothing in the hot weather! 

2) Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac

If outside adventures have led you through too many bushes, you might contract poison ivy, oak or sumac. These plants contain urushiol oil, to which most people are allergic.

  • Each of these rashes presents with itchy, large raised bumps or blisters.
  • Poison sumac is usually the most severe.
  • Each can require medical intervention if they cover extensive areas of the skin or sensitive areas like the mouth or eyes.
  • Treat these rashes with calamine lotion or other anti-itch creams. If necessary, use an oral antihistamine.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if severe swelling or difficulty seeing, swallowing or breathing occur.

3) Eczema

Eczema, or dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory condition thought to be caused by an overactive immune response.

  • Eczema presents with large, raised, itchy, red areas that can appear dry and scaly. They occasionally ooze.
  • There are several types of eczema, and they respond differently to treatment.
  • If you have a treatment-resistant rash, see a doctor — only a medical professional can diagnose eczema.

4) Hives 

Hives are an allergic reaction. They are primarily caused by your body’s immune response to something in your environment, and can also be caused by stress.

  • Hives appear as very large itchy, raised areas of the skin. When severe, they can become welts.
  • Hives can flare up suddenly, and the reason is not always obvious.
  • Hives usually only last for 6-12 hours, and go away on their own.
  • To treat persistent hives, use antihistamines. 

5) Chiggers 

“Chiggers” is the colloquial name for the larvae of certain mites. (Pleasant, hmm?) They tend to populate plants near ground level in humid, hot weather. They are very small and red, and swarm and feed on skin, causing a rash. 

  • Chiggers present as extremely itchy red bumps that can look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives.
  • Chigger bites generally appear in groups.
  • Most bites occur in damp places like the crotch, groin, knees and armpits.
  • Chiggers can be treated with hydrocortisone, pramoxine or lidocaine creams or gels for pain, and calamine lotion for itchiness. 

If you’re itchy, FastMed Urgent Care can help —  you don’t even need to make an appointment! Just come on in to a location near you or sign in online. Our short wait times and expert care will soothe your suffering skin and get you back to your summer.