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Identify and Treat Eight Summer Skin Rashes

Consider this your seasonal survival guide for thwarting everything itchy, spotted, and red all over.


Athlete’s Foot

What it looks like: Cracking, itching, or skin that looks white, dry, scaly, or pruney.

How you get it: Going barefoot in environments where fungi thrive, like pools, the backyard, or the gym.

Treat it: An OTC antifungal medication, like Micatin ($10, soap.com), should tackle the infection within a few weeks. Until it clears, be sure to keep skin dry so fungus doesn’t spread. Also avoid wearing shoes without socks, and try not to wear the same shoes two days in a row, as fungus can get in the lining of shoes and re-infect skin.

See a doc if: Skin hasn’t cleared within three to four weeks, or if you notice symptoms in the nails, too. You may need a prescription-strength medication.

Your best defense: Keep your flip-flops on.

Chigger Bites

What it looks like: Tiny pink or flesh-colored bumps that itch—a lot.

How you get it: Chiggers, small mites that live in tall grass and can latch onto skin, bite and leave behind itchy welts.

Treat it: OTC anti-itch creams and oral antihistamines usually ease symptoms and help bumps to subside in about a week.

See a doc if: If a week goes by and your OTC regimen hasn’t stopped the itch. 

Your best defense: Chiggers tend to be most active during the early evening and nighttime hours, so use DEET-based insect repellent if you’re hitting up a backyard barbecue or going for an after-dinner hike.

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