Prevent Heat Rash and Other Summer Scourges

Sun, plants, and insects are just some of the triggers of itchy summer rashes. Here’s how you can prevent them, with tips from Gregory Henderson, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist and health sciences clinical instructor with UCLA Dermatology in Palos Verdes, Calif.

1. Athlete’s foot

Wear water shoes in communal showers or on pool decks. Because the fungus loves moist areas, reduce foot sweat by wearing shoes and socks made of natural, breathable material; change socks frequently; and discard old shoes.

2. Eczema

If you suffer allergic symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes) when exposed to certain substances, avoiding those substances may help head off a case of eczema.

3. Heat rash

Wear loose, light clothing to prevent friction and moisture retention, and keep cool with fans or an air conditioner.

4. Lyme disease

Avoid walking off trails in the woods or tall grass. Protect yourself by wearing long pants and long sleeves; using tick repellents that contain deet, pircaridin, IR3535, or oil of eucalyptus or applying a pemethrin-containing insecticide to clothing; and doing a full-body check after coming inside to look for ticks.

5. Photosensitivity

Avoid sunlight during midday, when rays are strongest, and be cautious if taking drugs like antibiotics or diuretics, which can make you prone to photosensitivity. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and wear a hat and protective clothing.

6. Poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak

Learn to identify rash-causing plants so you can avoid them: The adage “leaves of three, let it be” applies here. Wear long pants and sleeves if you’re spending time outdoors and might come in contact with irritating plants.

7. Swimmer’s itch

Avoid swimming in places where snails are abundant and rinse off promptly after swimming.