Summer means rashes, scratches and stings for most people, but what is normal and not normal? Dr. Oz invited Dr. Clifford Basset, an Allergist, onto the show to discuss some of the more common summer symptoms which should never be ignored.
People generally think that any time you are bitten by a tick, you will get Lime Disease. This is a possibility, but most of the time you don’t actually get the disease. A normal tick bite is around the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and it is generally painless and goes unnoticed. Around 85% of the people that contract lime disease present with “target rash”, which is a red rash that resembles a bullseye. It is important to note that a quarter of the people that contract lime disease do not present with this rash, so the absence of the rash does not mean you have avoided the disease.
If you find that you have been bitten by a tick, remember that the quicker you remove the tick, the less likely your chance of getting Lime disease. Do not try to burn it off, as this will push the oil containing the bacteria into your body. Removing the tick by squeezing the body will have a similar effect. Petroleum jelly is effective but is not fast enough. To remove correctly, use a pair of tweezers and gently remove the tick by the head. Do not jerk or pull, the tick should be able to be pulled off the skin without doing this. Clean the area with soap or rubbing alcohol to avoid infection. Keeping the tick means that the tick can be tested for the disease if it is taken to medical professional.
Many people are going to the hospital with infected mosquito bites, or an allergic reaction to the salivary protein in a mosquitoes bite. These infected bites can lead to Skeeter Syndrome which can range from angry, red, inflamed bites, to swollen and blistered areas, in severe cases. Scratching these bites further can lead to serious infections.
Having a “pest first aid kit” readily available will help to keep infection at bay and decrease the amount of discomfort felt by those that have been bitten. The kit should include steroid cream, ice, mild soap, and antihistamine. Steroid cream reduces the itch of a bite and soothes. Ice will reduce swelling and itching, so you are less likely to scratch at the bite and get an infection. Mild soap and water will reduce the chance of infection from bacteria. An antihistamine will get rid of itching as well.
Around 40% of Americans do not use insect repellent, even though this is an effective method of preventing an insect bite that can lead to infection. There are natural products available for those that are adverse to the use of chemicals on the body. Using lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective topical preventative. Natural products will need to be applied more often, however, so you must remember to do this.
It can take three to four days for a rash from poison ivy to show, and poison ivy can be in vine form, berries, flowers, or shrub form. After infection, it can take three weeks or longer to get rid of the rash.
There are poison ivy block lotions and creams available, which contain lanolin. Lanolin keeps the poison ivy from getting into the skin. If you do get infected with poison ivy, rinse with water for ten to fifteen seconds (avoiding soap, as this will spread it further). Treat with baking soda, making a paste from three teaspoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of water. Apply to affected areas using gauze pads.