By Sandy Hedden, Nurse Practitioner, Gold Skin Care Center
Spring has sprung, the weather is getting warmer and the flowers and plants are blooming. However, with this season that we all love to see after what felt like a long winter comes an increase in certain skin problems. As more people venture outdoors, we start to see an increase in bug bites, contact dermatitis, and sunburns. There are a few easy steps to protect yourself this time of year.
Prevent and Treat Bug Bites
First, let’s start with those pesky bug bites. If you are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, then a bug repellent can be the first step in prevention. There are numerous over-the-counter repellents available including sensitive skin and DEET-free options. (DEET is the most effective insect repellent, but many people avoid it because of false information about it causing neurological problems. It has been proven safe when used as directed.) However, you may not be able to prevent all bug bites, so the first step in treatment of bug bites is an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and anti-itch lotion (such as calamine or Sarna brand lotion) to control the itching.
Stay Clear of Itchy Rashes
Next, there are some plants that love to brush up against us and give us a very itchy rash, namely poison ivy, sumac, and oak. Before you go outdoors, make sure you know what these plants look like so you can avoid contact with them, if possible. You can use an over-the-counter preventive barrier cream if you know you will be in close contact to these poisonous plants. If you have come in contact with a poisonous plant, minimize or prevent a rash by washing the affected area within 30 minutes of exposure with soap and water. Also, remember to wash your clothing because the poisonous resin can give you or someone else a rash later.
Apply Plenty of Sunscreen
With longer days and more outdoor activities comes the increased risk of sunburns. Preventing sunburns? Well that’s easy! Always wear sunscreen, a hat, appropriate clothing, and remember to reapply sunscreen often (usually every 90 to 120 minutes if swimming or sweating). Sunburn prevention is a key step in keeping your skin healthy, younger looking, and cancer-free. Use SPF 30 or higher for effective sun protection ever day, even if it’s cloudy!
Finally, if over-the-counter treatment is not helping to relieve your skin concerns or if you have a rash or bite that is worsening, spreading, or showing any signs of infection (increased redness, drainage, swelling, or skin breakdown), then make an appointment with Gold Skin Care Center’s medical dermatology clinic. We have stronger skin treatments that can heal and protect your skin from warm weather concerns.
Call us at 615-383-2400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment for any of your skin concerns.