5 Skin Rashes on Returning Travelers

by | Jun 14, 2022 | Blog, Traveling

woman sun tanning in pool

Most people enjoy taking vacations and spending time with loved ones. While it’s definitely important to relax and get away from the stress of everyday life, it’s also important to be aware of potential health hazards that could affect you while on holiday. One such hazard is skin rashes on returning travelers caused by different environments and activities encountered while abroad.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most common types of rashes on returning travelers and how to prevent them. We’ll also provide tips for treating any rashes that may occur. So, whether you’re planning a trip to sunny Florida or a tour of ancient European castles, be sure to read our advice on avoiding pesky skin irritations!

What kind of skin rashes do returning travelers get?

There are several different travel-related rashes that people can get, and they can be broadly divided into two categories: those caused by insects and those caused by plants. Insect-borne rashes are typically the result of bites or stings, and they can range from mild irritation to potentially fatal reactions. Plant-borne rashes, on the other hand, are usually caused by contact with poisonous plants such as poison ivy or poison oak.

These rashes can also be quite severe, and they may require medical treatment. In general, it is always best to consult a physician if you develop any kind of rash while traveling, as some rashes can indicate a more serious underlying condition.

1. Eczema / Location Los Angeles

A 50-year-old patient presented with a scaly rash with itching. It is associated with redness and skin bumps. He got it while his trip to Los Angeles.

Dermatologist Answer

It is called Eczema, which is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, and inflamed. It is most commonly found on the face, hands, and feet, but can occur anywhere on the body. Eczema is often hereditary and tends to run in families. There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Common treatments include moisturizers, corticosteroid creams, and antihistamines. If you have eczema, it is important to avoid triggers that can worsen symptoms. Common triggers include stress, laundry detergent, certain fabrics, and extreme temperatures. By understanding your trigger factors and taking steps to avoid them, you can help to control your eczema and minimize its impact on your life.  (1)

2. Scabies/ Paris

A family consisting of 5 people visited Paris last week. They presented with an excessive itchy rash all over the body. The itching is more in the webs of the hands and forearm.

Dermatologist Answer

Scabies is a skin condition caused by infestation with the human itch mite. The most common symptom of scabies is intense itching, which is often worse at night. Other symptoms may include a rash, burrows, and blisters. It can take 2-6 weeks for symptoms to develop after the initial infestation. Scabies is spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. It can also be spread indirectly through contact with contaminated items such as clothing, bedding, or towels.

Treatment for scabies typically involves the use of topical medications. In some cases, oral medications may also be necessary. With proper treatment, scabies can be effectively controlled. However, reinfection is possible if close contact is not avoided. (2)

3. Impetigo/ Orlando

A 25-year-old presented with sores on the mouth. It is golden brown in color and painful. It is not associated with any bleeding. The patient came back from Orlando 3 days back.

Dermatologist Answer

Impetigo is a skin infection that is most commonly seen in children. It is caused by bacteria, and it can spread quickly through close contact with others. The most common symptom of impetigo is a rash that appears as red, raised sores. These sores may ooze pus or crust over, and they are usually very itchy.

Impetigo can also cause fever and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, impetigo can spread to the bloodstream and cause serious complications. However, impetigo is easily treated with antibiotics. In most cases, the rash will clear up within a few days of starting treatment. (3)

4. Contact Dermatitis/ New York

A 45 year old male developed a rash on his body after taking a hot bath. He had it while taking a bath in a hotel in New York.

Dermatologist Answer

Contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen. Symptoms include redness, itching, and blistering. In some cases, the reaction may be severe and lead to swelling and crusting. Contact dermatitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute reactions occur within 24 hours of exposure and typically resolve within a few days. Chronic reactions develop over time and can last for weeks or months.

Treatment typically involves avoiding the trigger substance, washing the affected area with soap and water, and using a topical corticosteroid cream or ointment. In severe cases, oral corticosteroids may be necessary. With prompt treatment, most cases of contact dermatitis resolve without complications. (4)

5. London/ Hives

A 34-year-old male presented to a hospital with raised red itching rash after being bitten by an insect.

Dermatologist answer

Hives, also known as urticaria, are raised, red welts on the skin that are typically itchy. They can appear anywhere on the body and range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Hives can be triggered by several things, including certain foods, medications, insect bites, and infections. In most cases, hives will go away on their own within a few days.

However, if they last longer than six weeks, they are considered to be chronic hives and may require treatment. Chronic hives can be difficult to manage and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. If you are experiencing chronic hives, it is important to talk to your doctor to discuss treatment options. (5)



While it is always best to take necessary precautions before traveling, sometimes things happen beyond our control. If you experience a skin rash or other health issue as a returning traveler, be sure to seek medical attention and contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

For more information on skin conditions you may get in other popular travel locations, visit our article Vacation Gone Wrong: 7 Skin Rashes People Got Abroad.




  • ‌Sohn, A., Frankel, A., Patel, R. V., & Goldenberg, G. (2011). Eczema. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine: A Journal of Translational and Personalized Medicine, 78(5), 730–739. https://doi.org/10.1002/msj.20289


Ask a Dermatologist

Anonymous, fast and secure!

Over 15,000+ Readers

Get fresh content from First Derm

Ask a Dermatologist Now

Anonymous, fast and secure!

1 (415) 234-4124
Get Checked