If you have skin allergies, summer is a common time for skin rash flare-ups, including atopic dermatitis (eczema) and urticaria (hives).
These steps may help to reduce your symptoms, or even avoid them all together:
1. Beware of the sun. Hives can be triggered by heat or sweat. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid becoming too hot and wear sunscreen.
2. Be prepared. Eczema can worsen in the summer, especially with excess sweating. Have a skin care treatment plan. This may include having mild bathing products on hand.
3. Beware of certain plants. Poison oak, sumac or ivy can all lead to skin rashes. There is a simple reminder to stay safe: "Leaves of three, let them be." Some people are sensitive to the point that their conditions can flare-up when in contact with grass or other plants. For protection, wear long pants and long sleeves if outdoor plants cause a reaction.
4. Insect bites can cause a severe local reaction in some people. Insect repellent can help. Ticks can also be a cause. If a tick is discovered, remove the whole body and save it to show to your doctor.
5. It is normal for bee and wasp stings to cause a minor rash. However, for people with actual stinging insect allergy, these stings can cause a severe reaction – in some cases anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis) – and require emergency treatment.
6. Summertime often brings high mold and pollen counts as well as poor air quality with smog. Worsening nasal allergies or asthma can cause skin flare ups. Keep outdoor activities to a minimum during these times.
7. Not all rashes are allergic. Infections are common in the summer and can cause non-allergic skin rashes. When in doubt, consult with an allergist / immunologist. An allergist has specialized training and experience to diagnose and help you manage your condition.
Find out more about skin allergies.
This article has been reviewed by Andrew Moore, MD, FAAAAI