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    Summer Skin Hazards

    Poisonous Plants

    Poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can give you itchy skin and a red, blistering rash. The reaction happens when oil from these plants gets onto your skin.

    The best way to prevent a rash is to learn what these plants look like and avoid them. If you do come in contact with one, wash your skin in warm water right away. Scrub under your fingernails so you won’t spread the oil to other parts of your body. Wash your clothes in hot water to remove the oil.

    Use these tips to find relief if you still get a rash:

    • Apply cool compresses to your skin.
    • Take a lukewarm bath using an oatmeal bath product. Or add 1 cup of baking soda to running bath water.
    • Use calamine lotion, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, or an antihistamine.

    Call your doctor if:

    • You have a fever.
    • The rash is severe or looks infected.
    • The rash is on your lips, eyes, face, or genitals.

    Call 911 if you think you're having a severe reaction.

    Cuts and Scrapes

    You can get them year-round, but they're more likely during the summer, when you’re doing things outdoors.

    To treat them:

    • Use cool, running water and soap to clean a minor cut or scrape.
    • To stop a cut from bleeding, use a clean cloth or tissue to apply firm pressure. That should stop the bleeding.
    • If your cut is in an area that won’t get dirty, you can leave it uncovered. Otherwise, bandage it and change the dressing every day.
    • As it heals, you'll get a scab. Don't pick at it. The scab will fall off on its own when the wound heals.

    See your doctor if you notice symptoms of an infection, such as:

    Get medical care right away for wounds on the face, or for major skin gashes that are deep, bleed heavily, or have objects embedded in them.

    Also call your doctor if your tetanus shot isn't up to date.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on April 25, 2016
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