As a mom-led urgent care, we know that your family calendar is likely starting to fill up with vacations, beach days and BBQs – we’re so excited for these events with our families too! As you are penciling in your various plans, be mindful of these five common health concerns so you can maximize your fun summer moments.
1. Healthy habits for skin protection as you enjoy fun in the sun
We’re all craving days at the beach or pool to soak up some vitamin D. How can you and your family prepare for your fun day in the sun? We recommend staying hydrated, protecting your skin with sunscreen and limiting the amount of time you spend in the sunlight, especially during the peak hours (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) when the sunshine is the strongest.
To help prevent dehydration, make sure your family is drinking clear fluids consistently throughout the day. If you’re like some of the parents on our medical team, you probably love a refreshing iced coffee, but remember that caffeine is a diuretic which means an excessive amount can affect how hydrated you are.
While most sunburns do go away on their own, there may be a chance that sunburns could blister or scar if severe enough. Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 throughout the day to minimize the risk of such injuries. Every two hours or so, reapply sunscreen on yourself and to your little ones, especially if they are sweating or enjoying ocean waves or some time in the pool.
Lastly, you can prevent your body from overheating, which can result in possible heat stroke, by limiting the amount of time spent in the direct sun or hot weather. A fun way for families to do this is to check out a local ice cream shop or head inside for a cool afternoon movie.
2. Tips and tricks for planning a safe and relaxing pool or beach day
As many of our medical team are working moms and dads (our chief medical officer is the mom of three and our regional medical director is a dad to five), we know that now is the time when many of us take off our pool covers or head over to our local community pools, lakes or beaches. Whether your child is just learning how to swim or you have been a seasoned swimmer for many years, we want you to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe in the water this summer.
Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
In an effort to avoid swimming injuries or drowning, never leave a child or someone who does not know how to swim unattended, swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards when available and maintain constant supervision of those in the water. If your children have a small kiddie pool in your yard, designate a responsible adult to supervise playtime in the water.
You may see news stories or social media posts warning of “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” — this is when a person ingests water through their nose or mouth and later experiences symptoms like difficulty breathing, fatigue or irritability. It can be successfully treated, and the earlier it’s caught, the better. While it’s important to remember that this is fairly uncommon, it’s best to see a medical provider if your child or a loved one has spent time near the water and exhibits any symptoms related to secondary drowning.
3. What to keep in mind as you dust off your grill and fire pit
Many of us have long-waited for the end of winter to reconnect with loved ones around a campfire or in the backyard. Before you invite your family and friends over to grill or make s’mores, we suggest creating a safety plan. Your heat-related safety plan should include a checklist to ensure your grill or fire pit are a safe distance from your house, deck railings, and overhanging tree branches. We also recommend having a hose or fire extinguisher nearby.
To grill up perfect hot dogs and keep your kids and guests safe, don’t leave your grill unattended while it’s on. While you likely will take care to not burn yourself in your backyard, make sure to cover any burns with a clean, dry cloth in the event of an accident. If you have any concerns, our centers in Mamaroneck, Mohegan Lake and Somers are open seven days a week to check out any concerning burns or other injuries. You can schedule a virtual visit or check-in ahead of time on our website here.
4. Steps to avoid food-related illnesses at your backyard BBQs
Most of our fondest summer moments occur at our summer picnics and BBQs with family and friends. However, when the temperature gets warmer outside, foodborne germs are more common (including Norovirus and Salmonella).
Before you flip a juicy burger or leave a delicious potato salad out for your child to eat once they’re done playing, we recommend following the CDC’s four steps to food safety - Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. These steps will ensure that you and your loved ones don’t develop food poisoning or other related sickness. A general best practice is that hot foods should stay hot, and cold foods should stay cold. Leaving any food too long at ambient temperature increases the changes of bacteria growing and can make you sick.
We also recommend staying vigilant when using sharp objects to cut your meats or any other items you plan on grilling. Some general guidance to avoid cooking injuries includes wearing gloves resistant to punctures, cuts, or moisture; selecting the right tool for the job; sharpening cutting tools and knives on a regular basis (dull blades require more force and may be more likely to slip, cutting the handler); and taking care to cover/store/dispose of sharp objects properly.
5. Advice to help keep rashes and bug bites at bay this summer
Getting outdoors after a long cold winter in quarantine is great for our physical and emotional health. If you plan on hiking, spending time in or near wooded areas, or participating in other activities where you may encounter plants or bugs, you may run across poison oak, poison ivy and sumac, or find yourself with an insect sting or bite.
To avoid the unpleasant rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac remind children to be careful brushing up against or near any plants. While mowing the lawn or gardening, wear clothing or protective equipment to reduce the likelihood of a reaction to these plants.
Bites from mosquitos, horse flies or other bugs can also cause a reaction. If you or your child is bitten by an insect or any kind of animal, be sure to clean the wound properly to avoid any type of potential infection. If you have any concerns about wounds like these, you can seek treatment at facilities like a PhysicianOne Urgent Care location near you.
Check the scalp, elbows, behind the knees and all over for ticks after being in long grass or wooded areas for ticks. If you find a tick on you, monitor for any flu-like symptoms days or weeks after being bitten by a tick or notice that the skin surrounding a tick bite is becoming more swollen with enlarging areas of redness. These symptoms can indicate Lyme disease or something more serious. Consult a doctor or visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care to have the bite, rash and any Lyme symptoms evaluated.
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