Sun care: Aloe gel can soften and soothe the skin. If the burn is itchy, treat it with an antihistamine cream or spray like Benadryl. Slather on an after-sun moisturiser to reduce skin peeling when the burn heals. *File photo
Sun care: Aloe gel can soften and soothe the skin. If the burn is itchy, treat it with an antihistamine cream or spray like Benadryl. Slather on an after-sun moisturiser to reduce skin peeling when the burn heals. *File photo

Summer is here and with it comes a season of fun in the sun. 

That fun, however, can quickly become miserable if common health concerns pop up. Fortunately most mild seasonal health annoyances can be easily treated with a little knowledge, a few home remedies and sometimes a quick trip to the pharmacy.

Bermudians spend a lot of time in the sun. We all know about the dangers of too much sun and most of us take the necessary precautions to ward off the sun’s harmful rays.

But if you do get a sunburn, it can leave you sore and dehydrated. Drink water or juice to replace fluids. Soak the burn with cool water and take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) to relieve pain if necessary. 

Aloe gel can soften and soothe the skin. If the burn is itchy, treat it with an antihistamine cream or spray like Benadryl. 

Slather on an after-sun moisturiser to reduce skin peeling when the burn heals.

And watch for signs of sun poisoning, including blistering, dizziness, fever, chills and nausea. If you suspect sun poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.

Insects are another summer annoyance that can leave skin itchy or sore. Stings from hornets or bees can hurt and mosquito bites leave an itchy bump. 

As long as you are not allergic (in which case you should immediately seek medical care), take a pain reliever for pain and put ice on the wound. Try After-Bite to relieve the sting, or a cream like Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch. If you have received a number of bites, take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or Piriton or even Clarityn if you don’t want to be drowsy. These tips can be used to relieve jellyfish stings too. Just make sure that the stingers are removed first.

Heat rash appears as tiny bumps in the folds of skin and is caused by blocked sweat ducts. Keep the skin dry and cool and avoid heavy creams that can block sweat ducts.

Fungus grows in warm, moist environments, and our skin during the humid Bermuda summer can become the perfect breeding ground for many types of fungus. 

Bermuda Rot — a lovely local term for a yeast called tinea versicolor — causes a white discolouring of the skin, which can be embarrassing when cool clothes expose it for all to see. Many Bermudians swear by treating it with a dandruff shampoo like Selsun Blue, but if that doesn’t work, rub in an anti-fungal cream like Canesten, Daktarin and Nizoral. Be patient though, it can take several weeks before you see an improvement in the skin.

These creams also treat Athlete’s Foot, another common skin fungal infection. 

If you keep cool in the water you might run the risk of Swimmer’s Ear, an infection of the outer ear canal caused by water remaining in the canal. Swimmer’s Ear can be painful, so try an antibiotic drop such as Polysporin. A few drops of a solution made with one part white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol will help to release any water that is stuck in the ear canal and dry it out. If there is discharge, see a doctor.

Don’t let these and other health concerns ruin your fun this summer. Have a first aid kit stocked with the medications listed above so you are ready for whatever fun in the sun might offer. Stay safe and have a great summer, Bermuda!

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire.