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10 Tips for Preventing Common Summer Injuries and Illnesses, From Swimmer's Ear to Insect Bites

Summertime means more time spent outdoors with the family. But with that also comes a higher chance of suffering common summer ailments. 

No matter how carefully you planned out your summer activities, you probably didn’t plan to take your child to the pediatrician for an urgent issue.

To help prevent that unplanned trip, here are our top 10 tips to keep your child safe this summer. 

1. Use a bug repellent when spending time outdoors 

Ticks and mosquitoes spread many diseases, including Lyme disease, various types of encephalitis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, so putting a bug repellent on your child is a good idea. 

Not only that — your child could also have an allergic reaction to certain insect bites or stings.

Also, keep in mind that insects can bite through fabric, so wearing long sleeve shirts isn’t enough to stay protected. 

If you’re worried about using a repellent made with DEET, Dr. Gina Labovitz can help you find one that is safe and effective.

2. Don’t go outside without a bottle of water in your bag 

Kids can easily get dehydrated there’s no water nearby, especially if they’re outside during peak sun hours. When left untreated, dehydration can lead to more serious ailments such as heatstroke, which requires urgent care. 

The best way to stay hydrated is to make sure that you never leave the house without a good supply of water, and always make sure that your child takes breaks to drink an adequate amount. 

3. Avoid peak sun hours to prevent blistering sunburns 

Children love playing outside, and sometimes you forget to reapply their sunscreen every 2 hours. The only way to avoid this is to avoid being out in the sun during the peak hours.

Plus, studies show that staying in the shade is more effective than using sunscreen. Staying indoors during peak daylight hours is your best bet to avoid sunburns because sunscreen protection isn’t perfect.

4. Avoid swimming in lakes 

Swimming in lakes, or in any type of pond where the water isn’t disinfected, can lead to bacterial growth in the ear. 

Swimmer’s ear is an infection that occurs when water gets trapped in the ear. It mostly happens from swimming in lakes and ponds. 

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include itchiness, pain, and drainage from the ear. Luckily, swimmer’s ear can be easily treated with antiseptic ear drops. But it’s even simpler to prevent.  

5. Wear protective clothing when camping or hiking

Many plants can cause itchy and painful rashes, including poison ivy, sumac, and stinging nettle. Make sure that the family is dressed appropriately for outdoor activities in the woods with long-sleeve shirts and pants. 

6. Avoid foods that spoil easily 

When exposed to high outdoor temperatures for a long time, meats and dishes made with mayonnaise may cause food poisoning. So instead of bringing sandwiches to a picnic, make dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables and other ingredients that don’t spoil quickly. 

7. Never leave kids unsupervised near the pool

Many parents believe that their kids are safe in a pool because they are nearby. But studies show that drowning is the second-most common mortality cause in children. And most of these deaths occur in swimming pools. 

To prevent this, start early with swimming lessons and do not engage in distracting activities while your child is in the pool. Make sure someone is always at arm’s reach for small children and take a CPR class so you are prepared for emergencies.

8. Use protective biking gear 

Nobody likes wearing protective gear, especially when it’s hot and humid outside. But insisting that your children wear protective gear may save you a trip to the pediatrician to treat scrapes and bruises. 

Each year, there are about 26,000 serious biking related injuries involving children and teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find a helmet and gear that your kids will want to wear to help prevent these injuries.

9. Opt for breathable fabrics to avoid heat rashes 

Linen and cotton are great choices for summer outfits, as these fabrics may prevent heat rashes. 

When temperatures rise and your skin can’t breathe underneath your clothing, your sweat ducts become clogged, leading to small red bumps and itchiness. 

Make sure that your kids wear lightweight, breathable clothing for outdoor activities.

10. Use hypoallergenic sunscreen to prevent eczema 

Eczema is most often seen in children, and flare-ups can be triggered by the heat as well as chlorine found in pools. It can also be set off by substances that can irritate the skin, like sunscreen. 

But before applying sunscreen, make sure you look for hypoallergenic formulas that are free of perfumes and chemicals. Otherwise, your kids’ sunscreen could be contributing to certain skin issues.

If you live near Hoover, Alabama, and your child experiences any of these summertime ailments, contact our office to schedule a same-day sick visit to see Dr. Labovitz right away. 

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