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Protect your skin while enjoying outdoor activities this summer.

Summer is full of outdoor activities, but spending a lot of time under the sun puts your skin at risk. Sunburns, bug bites, and poison ivy are not fun. Here are some ways to avoid and treat these common problems.

Sunburns can cause premature aging and skin cancer

The best way to avoid sunburn is to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or right after swimming. If you do get sunburn, take a cool shower or bath and use a moisturizer or aloe vera gel to ease the pain.

Bug bites can dampen your summertime fun

You can minimize bug bites by using an insect repellent and avoid wearing bright colors or perfume. If you get bitten, treat the bite with a cold compress to minimize the swelling and a hydrocortisone cream to ease the itchy bites.

Poisonous plants cause irritated skin

Poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac cause itchy skin and a red, blistering rash. You can avoid exposure by applying a barrier cream or lotion and wearing protective clothing. It's also a good idea to learn what these plants look like and avoid them. If you do get a rash, wash your clothes in hot water and soak in a lukewarm bath using an oatmeal bath product.

Additional health and wellness information

If you're a Highmark member, you have access to a secure, members-only website that provides information about protecting your skin when outdoors. To access your Highmark member website, select the service region noted on your member ID card. After logging in, select the "Wellness" tab and type "summer skin hazards" in the search field.