Summer Skin Care in a Nutshell … or a Bottle of Sunblock
They are the big three irritants in an otherwise glorious time of year: sunburn, bug bites and the itchy rash associated with leaves of three, otherwise known as poison ivy. Dr. Avi Viswanathan with Memorial Physician Services – Koke Mill offers prevention tips as well as strategies on how best to deal with symptoms and discomfort in case your best preventative efforts fail.
- Sunburn. Experts encourage us to stay out of the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) but that’s not always realistic when boating, swimming, hiking or yard work beckon. Dr. Avi recommends using sunscreen liberally on cloudy or sunny days. If you forget to reapply, and sunburn occurs, you can use over-the-counter Tylenol or ibuprofen, cold compresses, moisturizing lotions (aloe) or topical agents like solarcaine or dermaplast to help relieve the pain. Those with more severe sunburns will need to be evaluated by a physician or skin specialist.
- Bug bites. Mosquitoes, ticks, flies, bees and other stinging or biting insects are irritating at best and hurtful at worst. If you know you’ll be in a bug-ridden area, wear protective clothing and shoes. Apply insect repellant as necessary. And call pest control if you encounter a nest of any sort swarming with insects. Treatment depends on the bite, Dr. Avi says. Most insect bites cause local skin-related reactions that can be treated with antihistamines or topical agents. However, mosquitoes and certain ticks can cause more serious conditions and may require immediate attention.
- Poison Ivy or Poison Oak/Sumac: Don’t be fooled! Even if these plants appear dead, they can still cause a rash reaction. Avoidance is the best strategy. Wear long-sleeved clothing and use thick, vinyl gloves when doing yard work. If you stumble into the stuff anyway, use soap and water to gently wash off the plant oil. Then avoid itching the affected area and treat with calamine lotion. If skin blisters erupt, use topical steroids and other compounds containing aluminum acetate that can help with inflammation around the skin area.