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What’s Making Me Itch?

Every season and situation has a host of skin threats, and this time of year is no different when it comes to figuring out what makes you itch and making it stop so you can go to sleep at night.</br></br>But, there are so many itchy things, and most of them are invisible – or they’re sneaky enough to irritate when you’re not looking. So, how are you supposed to know if it’s a bug, an allergy or something else?</br></br>Let’s identify the common threats and their antidotes:</br></br><strong>Heat Rash </strong></br></br>Heat rash is a regular occurrence in summer, particularly in hot and humid locations, and is caused when sweat ducts clog and trap sweat beneath the skin. Ouchie.</br></br>Sometimes called “prickly heat,” heat rash can manifest in many ways, but will often show up as red bumps. It can be painful, and can be further irritated by clothing and itching.</br></br>REMEDY: It just takes time. Remove irritants (like clothing), apply cool water and allow to air dry.</br></br><strong>Sun Poisoning</strong></br></br>“Sun poisoning” is just a scary term for severe sunburn, as if it weren’t scary enough. It may be hard to tell it's happening out in the sun, but then later your skin turns red and starts tingling …</br></br>REMEDY: Don’t itch it. Stay out of the sun, take cold showers, apply aloe and take ibuprofen for the pain.</br></br><strong>Hives</strong></br></br>Hives can be caused by a host of different things (allergies, stress, heat, irritants, etc.) and manifests as itchy, red welts of varying size on the skin.</br></br>Hives can come and go quickly, or linger for weeks. Try not to panic – there’s a good chance the added stress will only prolong the issue.</br></br>REMEDY: If not allergy related, hives may be eased with an antihistamine. Use cool water and an anti-itch cream with hydrocortisone to treat for discomfort.</br></br><strong>Allergies</strong></br></br>This is probably the toughest category to identify because symptoms are as wide-ranging as the potential causes. Given that fact, you may suspect an allergy if your itch is accompanied by other symptoms.</br></br>Those "other allergies" may include a runny nose, itchy throat, watery eyes and difficulty breathing.</br></br>REMEDY: Seek medical help if the itch persists and you suspect it may be an allergy. Otherwise, try an anti-itch cream and/or antihistamine.</br></br><strong>Bug Bites &amp; Poisonous Plants</strong></br></br>Different bugs have different bites, but it’s fair to say that most of them itch. Many bites cause raised, irritated bumps, while others may show up as a rash or discoloration.</br></br>Poisonous plants like sumac and ivy can cause a more pronounced itch accompanied by weeping skin. Eep!</br></br>REMEDY: Calamine lotion and zinc oxide help in both instances, but if allergies of either bug bites or poisonous plants is present then immediate medical care is advised.</br></br>Though in no way doctor approved, and offered only as an informal guide, we hope these tips help you scratch whatever itch you might have.
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