Why is it Called Disney Rash?
When you planned your Disney vacation, you may not have known the irritable rash that can form from a day at the park. Disney parkgoers began noticing a rash after spending a day at the happiest place on earth.
Unfortunately, after a day at the park, in the heat and humidity, you may find yourself covered in a rash around your lower legs and ankles. The rash gets its nickname after Disney since it tends to appear after visiting the popular theme park.
The Florida heat and humidity make someone more susceptible to developing Disney rash. It’s the only unmagical part of your Disney vacation. Thankfully, it’s not a life-threatening condition or even something that can make you sick. It’s more of a nuisance than anything.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to both treat and prevent Disney rash.
Is Disney Rash Contagious?
If you’ve ever had a rash, you probably have wondered if it is contagious. Did someone give it to you or can you give it to someone else?
Disney rash is in no way contagious, or even dangerous. It’s not a virus or bacterial infection. It’s an irritable rash you get from spending too much time in the heat.
You will not be able to spread it to anyone else. But don’t be surprised if more than one person in your family gets it since it can be genetic. Luckily, once you remove yourself from the situation causing Disney rash, you’ll be on your way to recovery.
So What’s the Disney Rash Treatment?
Typically, the Disney rash will resolve itself in a week to 10 days. However, to help aid in the healing process, there are several things you can do.
First, stop the activity you are doing. If you are in the middle of walking around Magic Kingdom and notice the Disney rash, it’s best to remove yourself from the heat for some time. Even if that means going back to your hotel room. Don’t worry, Mickey will still be there when you go back.
Second, elevate your legs. If you’re determined to not leave the park, find a resting spot where you can put up your feet for a while. Every park has a first aid center that can provide a place for you to rest and get the appropriate treatment. As a bonus, there have air conditioning which will provide a nice break from the heat.
As a little tip, if you are at Magic Kingdom and want to escape from the heat but aren’t staying nearby, simply take the monorail to one of the nearby deluxe resorts. You can easily put your feet up for a little while at the Contemporary or Grand Floridian before heading back to the park.
Third, buy some compression socks when you get home. If you are still experiencing discomfort once you leave Disney, then using compression socks will help speed up the healing process. If you’ve gotten Disney rash before and are headed back to the happiest place on earth, make sure you bring compression socks with you. This way you are already prepared in case it strikes again.
While the foods are at Disney World are incredibly tempting, changing your diet while at the park can help as well. Any increase in salt, like from those delicious giant pretzels, makes you more susceptible to Disney rash because the sodium can cause fluid retention. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.
Finally, you can use medications to aid in treating your Disney rash. Antihistamines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be applied to help with itching or burning. Again, you may be able to find these at a first aid center on the property.
You typically do not need to see a doctor for a Disney rash. However, if your vacation is over and you are back home and the rash is still persisting, you may want to get it checked out. If anything, your doctor can prescribe you something stronger than the over-the-counter medication you were taking.
Exercise-Induced Vasculitis (EIV)
Disney rash is a more magical way of saying the medical term, exercise-induced vasculitis (EIV). In fact, it’s not even a rash at all. If you are standing or walking in a hot climate for a lengthy amount of time, you are more at risk of developing EIV.
It is also referred to as golfer’s vasculitis since golfers tend to spend a large part of the day outside in the heat. A person’s legs and ankles will start to swell causing the small blood vessels to inflame.
It then causes the red bumps to appear. You may also notice purpura, which is purple spots on your legs. Unfortunately, it causes itching and burning as well.
Other activities that trigger EIV are:
- Running long distance
Women over the age of 50 are more at risk for developing EIV. You also may be more genetically predisposed to it if it runs in your family.
Finally, if you’ve had it once, you are more likely to get it again, which is why it’s even more important to take preventive measures.
Rash On Ankles And Lower Legs
The tell-tale sign of EIV is having a rash on your ankles and lower legs. You may notice discoloration and swelling as well. Unfortunately, Disney rash can make its way up to your legs to your shins and calves as well.
In some instances, it can go all the way up to your thighs. You may start to notice welts and large red patches.
You typically don’t see it below the sock line because your shoe and sock act as compression and avoid the rash.
Oftentimes, Disney rash is mistaken for sunburn but the rash is caused by heat, not the sun. However, applying sunscreen can help avoid EIV, the pesky Disney rash.
How To Avoid Exercise-Induced Vasculitis (EIV)
If you are more prone to EIV, it’s best to avoid any strenuous activities when it is too hot outside. In addition, you shouldn’t go front not exercising to spending a whole day doing exercise in the heat.
If you plan on going to Disney World, make sure you are walking outside in the months leading up to your trip to avoid any issues once you arrive. If you are not used to walking long distances, you are going to be more likely to develop EIV. You can easily walk several miles in just one day at a Disney park.
Also, if you can feel your legs starting to swell, stop what you are doing and elevate your legs. While sometimes that isn’t an immediate option like if you are in the middle of a golf course or out on a long run, it’s important to stop as soon as possible.
Invest in some quality compression socks. If you can tolerate wearing them outside, it will be extremely beneficial in avoiding EIV. Also, try to massage your legs throughout the day as well. Little steps can make a big overall difference in avoiding pesky Disney rash.
Keep in mind, compression socks can be uncomfortable in warmer weather and can end up making the problem worse. It’s advisable to wear them in the weeks leading up to your trip to get used to them.
Consider taking a break in the middle of the day to go back to your hotel room. Any time you can remove yourself from the heat and can enjoy the AC inside the better.
Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen. Not only does it protect you from the harmful UV rays, but it will also help prevent any symptoms of EIV from popping up.
Finally, make sure to stay hydrated. Water is so important when it comes to hot weather. Water will help reduce the chance of swelling that causes EIV.
The best way to treat EIV is by stopping the activity causing it. While you certainly don’t want to end your Disney trip early, you need to remove yourself from the heat and humidity in order for it to get better.
In addition, elevating your legs can really help in the treatment process. You can also wear compression stockings to speed up the healing process.
Putting cold towels on your legs can help with any swelling. Once you get back to your room, take a rest and apply the towels.
Finally, taking antiinflammatory drugs and antihistamines can help reduce the itching and burning.
You may notice some discoloring in your legs will last, even once the rash is gone. Disney rash is not really the souvenir you want to take back home.
Prickly Heat Rash – Rash In Folds Of Skin Or Areas Covered By Clothing
Think of heat rash as the cousin to Disney rash. Neither are fun to get and both will make your trip to the happiest place on earth quite unhappy. While Disney rash is found on uncovered portions of your skin, heat rash strikes the areas covered by clothing. Knowing what clothes to wear is key. I’ll go over this in just a moment.
Also known as prickly heat and miliaria, heat rash traps your sweat under your skin.
The folds of your skin covered by clothing cause friction due to air not being able to circulate. In addition, sweat is unable to evaporate. Your sweat glands then begin to clog up and your skin will start to blister and form red bumps.
Common areas where heat rash is found are:
- Near the groin
- Under the arms
- In the neck
Avoiding Heat Rash
Your best bet to avoiding heat rash is to plan ahead of time. Avoid wearing tight clothing when you are going to be in a hot climate. Dri-fit shirts are a great choice for a long day at the parks. Look for shirts specifically designed for fitness. While cotton isn’t a moisture-wicking fabric, it is a comfortable option for a day outside.
If you are spending a long day at the parks, alternate between indoor and outdoor activities. It gets extremely hot on those Florida summer days, so try to take breaks by going to indoor attractions or gift shops.
Make sure to drink plenty of water. It can be easy to forget, especially since water doesn’t come cheap at Disney, but it’s important to stay hydrated on those long, hot days.
If you have a child in diapers, make sure you are changing them throughout the day. Sitting in a wet diaper is an invitation for heat rash.
Finally, if you can feel the rash start, remove yourself from the heat as soon as you can. If you can help the situation before it worsens, it will be much easier to treat and you won’t be in discomfort for as long.
Treating Heat Rash
Thankfully, heat rash, like Disney rash, resolves on its own once your body has had a chance to cool down. Once you get back to your house or hotel room, take a cold shower or bath and then let your skin air-dry.
Calamine lotion can help with any irritated skin. Don’t use any lotions containing mineral oil or petroleum because they will just block your pores even more.
If you are home, consider taking an oatmeal bath. Put 1 or 2 cups of oatmeal right into a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes. Grind up the oatmeal before using, otherwise, you might end up with a clogged drain.
As another option, you can add baking soda to your bath. Just a few tablespoons are plenty.
Once the heat rash heals, try not to jump back into the heat right away. Your skin will thank you for the break. It will just get worse if any excessive sweating continues.
While there usually aren’t major complications due to heat rash, it’s important to seek medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
Your heat rash may be infected if you notice swelling, increased pain, oozing, or pus.