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The Heat is On: Summer Skin Conditions

North Texas is on a hot streak of the worst kind--26 consecutive days of 100 degree temperatures. When the heat is on like it is something has to give--and lately it's been the skin.

Dr. Melissa Rubenstein said she's seen a spike in patients at North Dallas Dermatology Associates suffering from heat rash.

"I think its worse this summer where people can't get away from the heat," Dr. Rubenstein said. "It's hard to cool down, it's hard to stay cool for long periods of time and just that repeated everyone sweating all the time outdoors we are seeing a lot of heat related reactions right now."

Including Brooke Prunty who is the proud mother of 13 month old year old daughter who loves to be outside where the heat and moisture took a toll on her skin.

"I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago after we had been swimming and playing outdoors a lot," Brooke said. "It is kind of small, little pink bumps on her abdomen and back."

And then came the classic itching and scratching.

"Mostly whenever I would take her clothes off of her she would start rubbing her stomach herself," Brooke recalled. "I would notice she was itching it a little bit."

Dr. Rubenstein said heat rash or prickly heat is caused by sweat ducts that get clogged. Over the counter hydrocortisone creams usually do the trick but if the sweat ducts are too clogged prescription steroid ointments may be needed.

"It's itchy; it's called prickly heat because people feel like it has little pins almost," Dr. Rubenstein said. "You can have periods of intense itching that just doesn't go away."

Dr. Rubenstein said all the non-stop sweating can also make acne and diaper rash even worse.

"There are a lot of things that get worse during the summer in the hot, humid weather."

But they can also get better. Steroid ointment made the rash on Brooke's daughter disappear.

But remember, it's only July and a repeat appearance is always a possibility.

"I think so with all of the hot weather outside," Brooke said.

Dr. Rubenstein suggests staying as dry as you can and wear moisture wicking clothing.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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