By Leisha Andersen, MD, MPH, Bright by Text Content Expert
While monkeypox and COVID-19 blanket the news coverage, other common (and often avoidable) illnesses and ailments can also get in the way of your family’s summertime fun.
Below is a list of some health issues that tend to occur more often over the warmer months…and some tips to keep your family healthier and happier during the hot, dog days of summer.
Pro tip: Prevention is best. Limit sun exposure between 10a and 2p (when the sun’s dangerous rays are strongest) and protect your child’s skin with sunscreen (SPF 30 or above) and protective clothing. But, if your child does get a sunburn, a cool bath or cool compresses can usually help with the discomfort. If the burn causes skin blisters or a fever, contact your child’s healthcare provider.
Pro tip: If contact with poison ivy (or other irritating substances) occurs: cleanse the skin, wash all clothing, and apply 1% hydrocortisone cream to the affected skin to reduce the irritation.
Pro tip: Applying insect repellent, using protective barriers (e.g., long-sleeved clothing), reducing standing water, and limiting outdoor time at dawn and dusk can all help to avoid bug bites.
Pro tip: If you find a tick on the skin, remove it completely as quickly as possible (grasping the tick with tweezers close to the skin and gently pulling the tick straight out). Seek care from your healthcare provider if a red, round, bulls-eye-like rash appears 1-2 weeks after a tick bite.
Pro tip: Handwashing helps to limit spread of infection.
Pro tip: Frequent handwashing, receiving routine childhood vaccinations, and avoiding exposure to people with cold symptoms can help prevent middle ear infections.
Pro tip: Rinse the ear canals with tap water after lake swimming (or swimming in other potentially polluted water sources). Avoid putting cotton swabs in your child’s ears since this can lead to wax buildup and trap water in the canals.
Pro tip: Good handwashing can limit person-to-person spread of pink eye infections.
Pro tip: Proper-fitting goggles can help protect sensitive eyes from pool-related eye irritation. Sunscreen, soap, smoke, and plant resin are all additional potential sources of contact (or irritant) conjunctivitis.
Pro tip: As always, be sure that your child’s hands are washed before meals and after using the restroom.
Pro tip: If you’re planning an outdoor eating event (such as a summertime picnic) be sure to cook and store food carefully. Put leftovers away as quickly as possible (and don’t let prepared foods sit out for more than 2 hours at room temperature)!
Here’s hoping that nothing (including contaminated food) “spoils” your summer!
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