We all love summers but they tend to carry with them an array of hazards which are minimal or nonexistent during the cold winter seasons. Most of such summer hazards involve the largest organ of our bodies — the skin. And at the top of the summer skin hazards is the skin’s exposure to the sun, insect bites and seasonal rashes
Exposure to the Sun
Depending on the geographic location, the sun provides pleasant warmth or brutal heat. In either case, the sun also endows us with “healthy” looking tans which are dangerously deceptive as they are not healthy at all and the consequences can be dire:
(a) Over exposure to the sun can result in sunburn which can be quite painful, slow to heal and it may culminate in skin infections and permanent scarring and uneven pigmentation.
To relieve the unpleasant and unsightly symptoms of sunburns; cool baths with added baking soda, oatmeal or white vinegar may prove to be very helpful as may cold showers. Aloe Vera extracts, cold compresses, corn starch or talcum powder, sliced cucumbers, chilled teabags and plenty of moisturizers which are applied directly to the sunburn may provide needed, albeit temporary, relief.
(b) Prolonged exposure to the sun is the leading cause for irreversible skin damage and the onset of premature signs of aging. The sun dehydrates and dries the moisture out of the skin and thus leaves it wrinkled and leathery.
(c) Long and unprotected exposure to the sun is the number one cause for a variety of life-threatening skin cancers; the most common of which are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
It is essential to always use good sunscreens and to cover up with clothing and hats whenever possible.
Along with the sun and the heat; insects come to life in droves and they bite! Most insect bites are merely bothersome as the bitten sites redden, swell and itch. However, some people may have allergic reactions and thus develop more severe symptoms which can possibly require medical interventions. In the most extreme of cases, allergic reactions to insect bites may lead to anaphylactic shock and even death.
Some insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are known to carry a variety of diseases some of which are quite serious. The best policy is to avoid being bitten and to do so means staying away from where they congregate (around tall grasses and standing water), by applying insect repellants and by wearing light colored and loose clothing.
Summer Skin Rashes
Skin rashes which are triggered by the heat of the summer (prickly heat) may be caused when the sweat which is produced by healthy sweat glands gets trapped under the skin and thus shows up as red bumps that can be blistery and exceedingly itchy. Seasonal summer skin rashes may also be caused by invading parasites which, like insects, come to life in the heat of the summer months.
The onset of summer skin rashes can be prevented by wearing cool clothing that is loose against the skin, by bathing frequently with plenty of soap and water and by avoiding parasite infested waters such as ponds, etc. Application of topical antihistamines and soothing ointments will relieve the symptoms of summertime rashes.