Prepare for Summer Skin Flare-ups
Summer is finally here! It is time for your camping trip, family vacation, day at an amusement park, or visit at Grandma's house.
According to Dr. Julie McNairn, a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, there are several tips for taking the heat out of summer skin allergies.
- Beware of the sun. Hives can be triggered by heat or sweat, so make you're your kids drink plenty of fluids, avoid becoming too hot and wear sunscreen.
- Be prepared. Eczema can worsen in the summer, especially if there is excess sweating. Have a skin care treatment plan. This may include having on hand mild bathing products. Check with your allergist to see if an antihistamine or steroid might help.
- Beware of contact with certain plants. poison oak, sumac or ivy can all lead to skin rashes. There is a saying you can teach your children: "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, your children can wear long pants and long sleeves if outdoor plants cause a reaction.
- The eyes have it. High pollen levels can cause itchy, runny eyes. Other contacts can also cause symptoms around the eyes. Be sure to tell your doctor if the skin allergies also involve the eyes.
- Bug bites. Can cause a severe local reaction in some people. Insect repellant 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.
- Insect stings. It is normal for bee and wasp stings to cause a minor rash. However, for people with actual stinging insect allergies, these stings can cause a severe reaction and in some cases anaphylaxis and require emergency treatment. Always report the reaction to you doctor in case testing is needed.
- Allergens climb. Summer time is the time for high mold counts, poor air quality with smog, and Ragweed, depending on where you live. Worsening nasal allergies or asthma can cause skin flare ups.
- Year-round rashes. Certain foods, medications, environmental allergens, even sunscreen, fragrances and nickel can cause rashes any time of year. A diary of what has been eaten or touched may help you and your doctor determine what might be causing the rash.
- It is not an allergy at all! Infections are common the in summer and can cause hives or rashes. Not to worry, these usually respond to antihistamine and time, though they might need other treatment. Prickly heat or heat stroke can look like an allergy.
"If any of theses rashes are severe, involve breathing troubles, confusion, nausea or circulation problems, get medical help right away," warns McNairn.
If your child has already been diagnosed with skin allergies, a visit to your doctor can help you prepare for summer. Prepare for your allergies ahead of time, with antihistamines, creams, and any regular allergy (or asthma) medications. Treatment depends on the cause.
Allergist/Immunologists are specially trained doctors who can help your regular doctor take care of summer skin rashes. For more information on allergies and asthma, visit www.aaaai.org, the official Web site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. © 1996-2008 American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. All Rights Reserved.
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