2 Major Skin Hazards of Summer

Poison Ivy

The rash associated with poison ivy is due to oil/allergen produced by the plant. The skin can be affected not only through direct contact with a plant but also through contact with clothes, pets, or anything else that has the plant’s oil on it. Your dog will not get a rash from poison ivy as only humans develop a rash from exposure. If you are aware that you touched a poisonous plant, rinsing the skin thoroughly with lukewarm water can help remove much of the rash causing oil/allergen. As with many skin problems you should avoid scratching or picking the affected area.

If you think a poisonous plant causes your rash:

  • Wash all the clothes you were wearing when you think you came in contact with the poisonous plant
  • Use calamine lotion on the affected area if the rash covers a smaller area of your body.
  • Take antihistamines to reduce itching but do not apply to the skin.
  • Apply a cool compress to the skin to help relieve itching

Sunburn

Sunburn, as well as a tan, is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The power of the sun is greater than the skin’s ability to protect itself with melanin, which determines skin pigmentation. Those who have had severe sunburns in their life are more likely to develop skin cancer. To avoid both the short-term pain and long-term consequences of sunburn you should always wear sunscreen when going outside in the summer.

If you do get a sunburn:

  • Apply a cold compress to the area
  • Use cooling products that contain aloe vera
  • Right after exposure to the sun, take aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for relief from inflammation and discomfort

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