Skin Wellness: Surviving Summer
Summer in Illinois is a wonderful season, despite how fleeting it may seem. To make sure you relish every summer day, there are some simple precautions to enjoying life outdoors.
Learn to identify poison ivy, sumac and oak and avoid contact. These plants cause a red, uncomfortable, itchy rash in lines or streaks. The rash is not contagious, even the fluid filled blisters. Treatment includes washing the area immediately after contact with the plant. Wet compresses and nonprescription antihistamines may also relieve symptoms. Moderate or severe cases may require treatment by your dermatologist.
Escape the powerful rays of the sun by seeking shade whenever possible and never go outdoors without applying sunscreen with an SPF30 or higher. When spending the day outside, sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming. Seek medical attention for sunburns with symptoms that include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting or severe burns in babies, young children or older adults.
Summer is a common time for bug bites. The symptoms of an insect bite result from venom or other substances being injected into your skin. The severity of the reaction depends on your sensitivity to the insect venom. Most reactions cause mild itching or stinging and minor swelling that disappears in a day or two. Home care can include a cold pack, over-the-counter pain reliever, antihistamine and topical relief creams. A small percentage of people develop anaphylaxis to insect venom; signs include nausea, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, confusion and rapid heartbeat. If any of these symptoms occur, call 911 for emergency medical care.