Common Summer Skin Problems

ARTHROPOD BITES
Well, I am definitely speaking with authority and experience on this matter! I currently have a half dollar sized bite reaction on my backside from a very friendly spider. I wouldn’t appreciate 145lb sitting on me either!!! (That’s what my license says ;))

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE NOTICE BITES MORE THAN OTHERS
“So….why do some people get bitten by bugs and not others?” This is a common question I encounter.

  • Firstly, SOME people have more of an immune reaction to the bite than others so it doesn’t mean the person next to you ISN’T getting bitten! Maybe they’re just more “desensitized”.
  • However — if you have on less clothing, keep your windows down and doors open, are located near tall grass or wooded areas, have or had pets, (and specifically for mosquitos) are residing near standing water then you might just be setting yourself up.
    • Also keep in mind mosquitos are attracted to increased body heat, exhaled CO2, sweat and the skins normal good germs
    • Vitamins B1 (Thiamine) can be a natural insect deterrent
    • Apply DEET to exposed skin

I GOT BITTEN. NOW WHAT?
Most localized reactions max out or look the worst at about 48 hr. I’ll tell y’all what I did for my honkin’ bite….

  • I immediately had my poor nurse place a topical steroid on my posterior/spider bite. (If it was a sting I’d consider ice first and then steroid). Most people have Cortisone-10 or Hydrocortisone 1% easily available.
  • Next, we occluded it with a bandage. I like this for two reasons.
    • It forced the medicine to stay on and penetrate.
    • It keeps me from scratching and potentially giving myself a staph infection.
  • Oral antihistamines are also a good choice. I’m not a fan of the “Benadryl creams, etc” for stuff like this. My recommendations would be either:
    • Allegra (Fexofenadine)
    • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
    • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

**If you get stung by a venomous insect like a wasp and are having a serious reaction call 911. A lot of people who know they are allergic carry around an EpiPen. Keep this stored appropriately in a cool, dry but easily accessible location. If an EpiPen is utilized you MUST go directly to the nearest emergency room. Do not pass GO. Do not Collect $200. You can have a rebound and this could be even worse than the first time so take it seriously!!!

**Ticks are a common problem this time of year as well. They can carry some serious illnesses. Most cases of Lymes are in the North/Northeast. I’ve only diagnosed one patient with it and that was after she came back from hiking in New Hampshire. However, there are plenty of other diseases to watch for so if you’re concerned, have a red SPREADING circle around the bite, fever, night sweats you need to see your healthcare provider. Remember though, like any bug bite it is NOT UNCOMMON to get a red circle and even a bump at the site if a tick bite.

SUNBURNS
MILD/MODERATE

So we’ve previously posted info on sunscreens and how to prevent sunburns but what do you do when you get one

  • Honestly, not a lot so PREVENT, PREVENT, PREVENT!
    • The redness will go away within 3-7 days whether you do anything or not and blisters within 7-10
    • Apply cool compresses to the affected area
    • Calamine lotion
    • Aloe Vera Gel (100% kept refrigerated) — remember this doesn’t make it heal faster but if it feels good then it’s usually not harmful
      • People who are allergic to tulips, garlic, onion are more likely to be allergic to Aloe Vera.
    • Liquid paraffin/white soft paraffin 50/50 to intact skin.
    • For ruptured blisters wash gently with mild soap and water and then cover with Vaseline soaked gauze. Do not pop blisters intentionally.
    • Ibuprofen/Advil/Motrin

SEVERE

  • May need hospitalization/IV fluids

While a lot of common summer skin problems can be prevented, there are times when we end up with bug bites or a sunburn that we didn’t intend. If you need help assessing your skin’s health or are struggling with at-home treatments, schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologic providers and we’ll help you get back on track. And remember, ALWAYS wear sunscreen.

 

Karilyn Crook, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant and is currently accepting adult and pediatric patients to treat and diagnosis all conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.

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