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How to Spot Summers’ Most Common Skin Rashes

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This past weekend, I spent a lot of time outdoors—hiking with my husband in the woods, gardening in the backyard, and reading on the back porch. On Monday, I noticed a series of itchy, burning bumps on the back of my legs so I went online to find out exactly what summer rash-related condition I’d earned. (We recommend confirming any diagnoses with a doctor visit, especially if you experience shortness of breath, fever, abdominal or muscle pain, nausea, headache, or infection).

Here is what I discovered concerning summer’s most common rashes and skin ailments…

1. Poison Ivy Rash

If you’ve had a (literal) brush with poison ivy after a hike in the woods, you’ll notice a rash form in a series of small, fluid-filled blisters. The blisters will appear either in a straight line or in intersecting X patterns wherever your body made direct contact with the plant. Poison ivy rash, like poison oak and sumac rash, forms within about 48- to 72-hours as an allergic reaction to a toxin, called urushiol. The thing is, roughly 85-percent of the world’s population is allergic to urushiol. Severe poison ivy rash will need treatment by a doctor, but mild rash can be treated with a soothing oatmeal bath followed by over-the-counter anti-itch cream, like calamine in combination with an oral antihistamine.

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