Itchy Skin Flareup When Warm
Itchy skin is more common during the winter because decreased humidity causes dry skin; however, dry itchy skin can occur any time of year. Some other skin problems that result in itching during warmer months are cercarial dermatitis, miliaria and sunburns. These are all preventable and can often be treated without seeing a doctor.
Dry skin can be caused by air conditioning and bathing too frequently. Cercarial dermatitis is also known as swimmer's itch and is caused by a parasite that infects some birds and mammals, which leads to an allergic reaction on the swimmer's skin. The parasite is released by infected snails and it burrows into swimmer's skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Miliaria is also known as prickly heat or a heat rash. Miliaria occurs when perspiration blocks sweat glands so pores cannot clear sweat, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Sunburns are caused by ultraviolet rays of the sun or tanning beds that damage tops layers of the epidermis.
Dry skin is so common that most people will experience it at some point in their lifetime. The symptoms of dry skin include a leathery appearance, redness and skin that flakes or cracks. Cercarial dermatitis shows within minutes to days of swimming. The skin for cercarial dermatitis may tingle, burn or itch as well as have red bumps. The longer you swam in contaminated water, the greater the severity of the symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For miliaria, the skin may be red with small bumps and a tingling sensation. Depending on the severity of a sunburn, the skin will appear pink or red. Severe sunburns will have blisters and peeling.
The diagnosis for all these symptoms can typically be determined by observation and questions regarding the activities done before the itching. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be done to observe skin under a microscope. Blood and urine tests can also determine if the itching is caused by an underlying medical condition, according to Mayo Clinic's website.
Dry skin can be treated by applying an oil-based moisturizer to the affected areas several times per day. A cool bath can relieve the inflammation for all these skin problems. Adding uncooked oatmeal or baking soda to the bath can offer additional relief for cercarial dermatitis. Corticosteroid creams can relieve itchiness from dry skin and cercarial dermatitis. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to reduce the possible fever associated with miliaria and it can relieve the pain associated with a sunburn. Aloe vera gel can also relieve discomfort from a sunburn.
Keep your skin moisturized to prevent dry itchy skin. Also, never leave your home without applying a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 because this can prevent dry skin and sunburns. You can also avoid sunburns by wearing protective clothing and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to KidsHealth.org. If you swim, always swim in a pool that is well maintained and chlorinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDCP also recommends not swimming where signs are posted about unsafe waters, avoiding marshy areas and not attracting birds to your swimming area. To avoid heat rashes, stay in air conditioned environments, wear lose clothes and stay dry, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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