Common Summer Skin Problems

Picture of a woman pulling the strap of her tank top to the side to reveal a sunburn.What’s your favorite part of summer? Lounging on a beach? Spending time with family and friends at the local pool? Or maybe you enjoy attending the fairs and festivals that take place at this time each year. While many people name summer as their favorite season, the hot and humid weather that normally occurs during this period can lead to a host of skin-related issues. Below are just a few of the skin problems that people commonly experience during the warm summer months.

Sunburns

Although sunlight offers a wide array of health benefits—including increased vitamin D, reduced stress, and improved sleep—it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Spending time outdoors without wearing protective sunscreen can lead to a nasty sunburn, which can cause skin redness, warmth, tenderness, swelling, and blistering. You may also experience a fever, a headache, nausea, and fatigue.

Sunburns can usually be treated at home, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seeking professional care if you’re experiencing a fever higher than 101° F, extreme pain lasting more than 48 hours, or the symptoms of dehydration. You should also consult with a medical provider if you have a severe sunburn covering more than 15% of your body. It’s important to take the necessary steps to avoid getting burned—in addition to causing premature wrinkling and age spots, sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal skin infection that typically begins developing between the toes and then may spread to other areas of the feet or the rest of the body. It’s usually characterized by an itchy, scaly rash that may produce a stinging or burning sensation. The affected skin may crack or peel, and it might take on a red, purple, or gray hue. While athlete’s foot can occur at any time during the year, there’s a higher risk of it developing in a warm and damp environment, so it tends to be more prevalent during the humid summer months.

Athlete’s foot is contagious and is often transmitted through contact with an infected individual or contaminated clothing, towels, floors, or swimming pools. This condition can often be treated using over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medication, but you should consult with a professional if:

  • Your rash doesn’t improve within two weeks after you begin using an OTC antifungal product
  • You’re experiencing signs of an infection, which may include swelling, pus, or a fever
  • You have diabetes

According to the CDC, athlete’s foot can be a chronic infection, so it’s important to monitor yourself for recurring symptoms even after completing treatment.

Heat Rash

Heat rash (also referred to as “miliaria” or “prickly heat”) tends to occur in hot, humid conditions, making it one of the most common summer skin problems. It develops when sweat ducts become blocked or inflamed, causing sweat to become trapped within the skin. When this happens, it can cause small blisters to form in skin folds and areas where skin is rubbing against clothing (infants often develop heat rash on their neck, shoulders, and chest). This may lead to an itchy or prickling sensation, and if heat rash occurs deeper within the skin, it can produce firm, painful lumps.

If you think you might have heat rash, you should try to chill the area by taking a cool shower or bath or applying a cool compress. The CDC also recommends applying powder rather than ointments or creams, since greasy or oily skin products could clog your skin’s pores even further. Although heat rash typically resolves on its own after the skin cools down, professional care is sometimes necessary. You should consult with a medical provider if your rash worsens or if you’re still experiencing symptoms after a few days have passed.

A Local Urgent Care Provider Treating Summer Skin Problems

If you suspect that you have any of the skin conditions listed above, you can rely on PhysicianOne Urgent Care for treatment. We have locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York where patients can receive treatment 365 days per year without the need for an appointment. Or, if you’d prefer to consult with a provider remotely, click here to schedule a 24/7 Virtual Visit. Call us at 860-650-3848 with any questions.

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