How to Avoid and Treat Summer Rashes and Stings

Take these sensible precautions and before you know it, your child will be ready for another carefree day of summer fun outdoors.

Rashes

Sidestep these summer spoilers to keep your day in the sun fun.

Heat Rash

Heat can affect your child's skin from her face to her feet. "Heat rash, also known as miliaria or prickly heat, is very common when weather is hot and humid," says Dirk M. Elston, MD, a dermatologist at Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, Pennsylvania.

When sweat glands become blocked, you may notice red bumps or pustules, often on the face and arms. But don't worry: Heat rash isn't serious and usually clears itself up. Until it does, skip creams or ointments that can plug up pores. Bathing your baby will help her feel more comfortable.

To prevent a recurrence, keep your child's skin cool during the day by dressing him in lightweight cotton clothing and taking frequent breaks from the heat. At night, dress him as warmly or coolly as you are dressing yourself.

Rashes from Swimming

A rash that crops up after your child has been splashing around in a pool, lake, or ocean can be one of several things:

  • If little red bumps appear around hair follicles under your child's clothing or swimsuit (often on the butt or thighs), hot tub folliculitis from a poorly chlorinated pool may be the culprit, says Dr. Mancini.
  • Itchy red bumps after a dip in the ocean can be a case of sea bather's eruption, which is caused by ocean organisms embedding themselves within the clothing and injecting toxins into skin.
  • Swimmer's itch, evidenced by itchy red bumps with tiny blisters, can occur after a dip in salt or freshwater. In this case, the rash typically shows up on areas that weren't covered by a swimsuit.

These rashes generally clear up on their own, but over-the-counter antihistamines and soothing or anti-itch products such as hydrocortisone, colloidal oatmeal products, and menthol/camphor creams may provide relief, says Dr. Mancini.

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