“Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin’ dirty an’ gritty ...” When John Sebastian sang those lyrics in 1966, he could have been talking about heat rash — a common skin irritation that’s associated with steamy, hot weather.
If you’ve noticed small, itchy, prickly red bumps or blisters forming where your sweat accumulates (under the breasts, in folds of skin around the neck, groin, armpits and creases of the elbows) you may be prone to heat rash. Adults get it too — not just babies.
It may come from having an extra dose of a common skin-dwelling bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. The bacteria produce a slightly sticky substance, and when combined with sweat and dead skin cells, it can clog your pores, and that rash appears! But heat rash isn’t an infection — not unless you scratch it and break the skin, allowing bacteria to get in and start trouble. With a few smart steps, the rash usually will go away quite quickly. And you can keep it from coming back!
1. Avoid heavy creams in vulnerable areas. Use cornstarch or talc-free powder to keep areas dry. And try calamine lotion to ease the itch.
2. Wear light, absorbent cotton or wicking materials that draw moisture away from the skin. And avoid skin-tight clothing. Skinny jeans can become itchy jeans!
3. Take a cool bath or shower without harsh soaps, and dry off thoroughly.
4. If the rash doesn’t fade in three to four days, see your doctor.
Debrett’s “A-Z of Modern Manners” claims to be the authority on “all matters of etiquette, social occasions ... and fine style.” And it would be rude to disagree, or so they imply. About good posture, they say: It makes you appear taller and slimmer, and you will seem more confident and positive. (They’ve almost got it right.)
Good posture is not just about appearing to be slimmer; if you’re overweight, improving your posture can help you shed unwanted pounds. It takes effort to maintain good posture, and that burns calories. It also improves respiration, which improves blood flow and revs your metabolism. Now you’re burning even more calories!
Here’s how to stand straight, so (along with a healthful diet and walking 10,000 steps a day) you’ll lose that oh-so-nasty belly fat (it’s bad for the heart, brain and sex life). Hint: Try this with or without a book on your head!
1. Keep the top of your head straight up toward the sky.
2. Relax your shoulders and keep them down and back.
3. Don’t jut your chin forward or tuck it in; keep it parallel to the floor; your neck should be upright, not tilted.
4. Your abdominals should be engaged; not straining, but working to keep you aligned.
5. Distribute your weight evenly over your hips and legs.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.