What is this rash?

What is this rash?

Rashes can occur in various situations, from physical contact with an infected person or object such as a plant to allergic reactions to a medication or weather changes.

During the summer, heat rash, poison ivy and swimmer’s rash are very common.

“Rashes are a nuisance more than anything,” says Dr. Donald Amuh, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.

Recognizing exactly what kind of rash it is and then treating it properly with the right ointments are the first steps on the road to recovery.

Heat rash looks like tiny, prickly pimples often called “prickly heat” because of the itchy or prickly feeling associated with the heat rash. It typically occurs on areas covered by clothing and happens when the sweat glands are blocked and sweat cannot get to the skin’s surface to evaporate. A heat rash fades once the pores of the skin become unblocked and the skin cools.  Wearing loose fitting clothes in hot and humid weather helps prevent rashes.

Contact rashes such as poison ivy or oak also make an appearance in the summer. Poison ivy symptoms can take up to a week to appear after coming in contact with the plant. The symptoms include an itchy sensation, red bumps or streaks where the skin was exposed to the plant. If you come in contact with poison ivy, rinse the skin with warm soapy water, wash everything that touched the plant, and apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone to the skin, says Dr. Amuh.

“First and foremost the most important thing is to avoid the poison ivy plant altogether,” he says.

Swimmer’s itch is an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect some birds and mammals found in the water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The small, red itchy bumps clear up on their own with the help of mild corticosteroid cream.

In the case of any of these rashes, if the problems persist, call a doctor.

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About the Author

Carolyn Diana
Carolyn Diana

Carolyn Diana, intern at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, is a junior at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently majoring in journalism and spanish. Besides going to school, she is a server at 115 Bourbon Street restaurant and during her free time she likes to read, write for the school newspaper, and watching E! news. Some of her favorite things are Miley Cyrus, the Chicago Blackhawks, and deep dish pizza.