Article Written by Home Doctor Brisbane Team

With the warmth of November comes that stinging reminder that the body can get pretty uncomfortable at this time of year. Yes, we can ditch the layers and pack away the heaters but there are a few common summer ailments that can really take the fun out of our annual time in the sun.

Sunburn tops the list but heat rash is up there. Swimmer’s ear, dehydration and increased exposure to allergens and air conditioners round out of our list of summer ailments. Fortunately, we can do a few things to remedy the conditions and, better yet, prevent them. We  look at ways on how to treat sunburn.



If I’ve told you this once, I’ve told you a thousand times: slip, slop slap. It’s so simple. There are many ways on how to treat sunburn however once the damage has been done unfortunately you cant go back.

Remember when it comes to sunscreen, all are not equal. In Australia, you can now access SPF 50 easily. Follow the application guidelines. Sunscreen manufacturers indicate how frequently their product needs to be applied and reapplied to be effective. Our recommendation comes via Queensland-based dermatologist Doctor Michael Freeman.

His practice – The Skin Centre – recommends Actinica, saying it has “the highest UV protection available in Australia.”

“It is highly effective, water resistant and with broad spectrum UV protection, should be a part of your everyday routine.”


  •  Sunburn can occur within 15 minutes of sun exposure
  •  Once you’ve been burned, there is no cure
  •  Prolonged exposure and permanent damage to the skin increases your risk of skin cancer
  •  It also ages you, prematurely.

If you have returned from a day at the beach, red and regretful, there are a few tips on how to treat sunburn and relieve the symptoms but make no mistake, the damage has been done.

How to treat sunburn….Better Health recommends:

  • Drink plenty of water, because spending time in the sun can lead to dehydration as well as sunburn
  • Gently apply cool or cold compresses, or bathe the area in cool water
  • Avoid using soap as this may irritate your skin
  • Speak to a pharmacist about products that help soothe sunburn. Choose spray-on solutions rather than creams
  • Don’t pop blisters. Consider covering itchy blisters with a wound dressing to reduce the risk of infection
  • If your skin is not too painful, apply moisturiser. This won’t stop the burnt skin from peeling off, but it will help boost the moisture content of the skin beneath. Do not apply butter to sunburnt skin
  • Take over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, if necessary
  • Keep out of the sun until your skin has completely healed.

Heat rash

We know the feeling of heat rash, but what is it exactly, I hear you ask?

“Heat rash or prickly heat is a harmless but very itchy skin rash forming small red spots in places where sweat collects, such as the armpits, back, under the breasts, chest, groin, crooks of elbows and knees, and the waist,” the Federal Government’s Health Direct explains.

Health Direct says it is caused by a blockage and inflammation of sweat ducts in heat and high humidity, which causes:

  • Tiny red spots
  • An irritating itch and prickly sensation
  • Redness
  • Mild swelling of the affected area

“These rashes can be caused by things like sunlight, insects, sweating and overheating during the summer months – especially if they have allergies and/or pre-existing skin conditions. Babies are especially susceptible to skin rashes because their skin is new and therefore sensitive.”

The best thing to do is to keep skin cool and well ventilated. Tight clothing especially in areas like armpits, combined with heat and humidity will irritate the skin. Wear cotton clothing and have cool showers.

“Move to a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected areas dry (powder can help), and avoid using ointments or creams because they keep the skin warm and moist which can make the condition worse,” Health Direct advises.

Remember, rashes can indicate a myriad of health problems, one of which is heat rash. If you notice several symptoms you can use a symptom checker to get a little more info. House Call Doctor has taken a look at the Federal Government’s symptom checker.

Swimmer’s ear

When you’re a kid it is the absolute worst to have play time in the pool or under the sprinkler interrupted for ear plugs or drops but chances are your parents were trying to avoid or treat the all-too-common infection we refer to as swimmer’s ear.

The Mayo Clinic describes swimmer’s ear as “an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head.”

“It’s often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.

“Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in your ears also can lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin lining your ear canal.”

Basically, bacteria can invade the skin and lead to infection and in the tight environment of an ear canal, that’s super painful.

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from swimmer’s ear, you need to see a doctor. Treatment includes cleaning out the ear canal and then prescribed ear drops that will help reduce the infection. However if clinics are closed you can contact a home doctor in Brisbane.

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