Many people (way too many) pay no attention to their skin until it begins to bother them in some way. For instance, they do not thank their wonderful skin for protecting their fragile internal organs, nor do they care that it works hard renewing and rebuilding itself each and every day. Then one day they break out into an itchy, horrible, red rash and suddenly their skin is all that they can think about. The treatment will depend on the rash, but there are some universal tips to keep the rash from making you a scratching, whining, nervous wreck.
First, figure out where the rash came from. If you have been out in the woods recently (even in winter) you may have contracted poison ivy, oak or sumac. Even the most vigilant hiker may inadvertently brush against the offending plant and develop a rash, although it is a lower possibility in the winter months because of all of the clothing layers. If you are exceptionally sensitive to any of these plants then contact a dermatologist or your primary care physician for further care.
If you are an average sufferer, you can treat the offending rash with calamine lotions (now available in a clear formulation), a warm soak in oatmeal or baking soda or a solution called Burrow’s. (This may be hard to find.) If the rash is very mild, you can try to treat it with hydrocortisone creams, but this will not work for moderate or more severe reactions. As with most rashes, the best treatment is to avoid getting them in the first place, so now what to look for whenever you head out into the woods.
Other things can cause these rashes as well. Allergic reactions can leave you feeling itchy and miserable as well. If you have known allergens, do your best to avoid them and know how severe any potential reaction might be for you. Will you have a rash that causes you to scratch yourself bloody and raw, or will you simply be bumpy for an hour and then fine? Do you require medical intervention when you break out? You should know the answer to these questions.
Sometimes winter can bring on the worst rashes. Our skin gets dry during these colder months, and then can break out in an itchy, uncomfortable rash. Limiting the time we spend in the tub, the temperature of the water we use and careful moisturizing is even more important in the winter to prevent dry, sore, itchy skin.