As spring gets underway, families begin to spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather, planting flowers, playing sports or other outdoor activities. This increases the chance you may be exposed to something that can irritate your skin, causing an itchy, red rash. Richard Samuel, MD, medical director of Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care, answers questions about some of the most common rashes.
Q: What are some common types of rashes during spring?
Dr. Samuel: There are many different types of rashes, but the most common during springtime is dermatitis. Dermatitis can affect adults and children, especially those with sensitive skin. This rash can be caused by exposure to poison ivy or oak, grasses and other outdoor plants. Dermatitis causes minor symptoms of dryness, redness, bumps and itchiness in the affected area.
Q: What are other types of common rashes?
- Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is often associated with food allergies, seasonal allergies and asthma. Eczema is often itchy and produces red scaly patches on the scalp, forehead and face.
- Heat rashes, also known as Miliaria, form when sweat accumulates underneath the surface of your skin. It often forms small clear or white fluid-filled bumps on the surface of the skin. This type of rash is often seen during the hot, humid months of summer.
- Stress rashes, or stress hives, often develop from chronic stress and tension. This type is generally a red, raised and swollen rash on your body.
Q: How do I treat a rash?
Dr. Samuel: Fortunately, symptoms of a rash are frequently minor and will usually disappear within a few days. If you have developed a rash, use gentle soaps with fragrance-free lotion to keep the area clean and moisturized. Other at-home treatments you can try to help relieve redness and itchiness are:
- Aloe Vera
- Oatmeal bath products
- Calamine lotion for dermatitis caused by poison ivy or poison oak
- Over-the-counter Hydrocortisone cream or ointment
Q: When should I see a doctor about a rash?
Dr. Samuel: Most rashes eventually go away over time. However, if you or your child experiences a rash that spreads all over the body, is painful and does not go away within a few days, call your doctor, pediatrician or visit an urgent care center.