We are finally putting away our jackets and pulling out the sunscreen. The lazy hazy days of summer are here, as are the unavoidable bug bites, skin issues and other summer annoyances.
The following are a few tips to manage some of these:
INSECT BITES cause local redness, swelling and itching. Younger children may have increased reactions to bites. Treatment consists of cleansing the site and applying cooling agent. Calamine lotion, aloe vera gel and over the counter steroid cream may be helpful. Benadryl is useful if the itching is intense.
BEE AND OTHER INSECT STINGS will cause redness, swelling and pain at the site. The swelling may continue for at least forty eight hours. Only the honey bee may leave a stinger which may be removed with a finger nail, credit card or another similar object to scrape it off. Application of cold, baking soda paste, or meat tenderizer paste can help with pain. Topical steroid cream, and if needed, antihistamine medication will be helpful for itching. Rarely, if reactions are more generalized, such as facial swelling, trouble breathing or swallowing, call 911.
TICK BITES are extremely common in the summer. Generally, if attachment is less than 48 hours, the risk for any concern of lyme disease is very low. Read our article on tick bites and Lyme disease for more information. To see the best way to remove a tick, refer to the video on the article page. If tick parts are left after attempting to remove a tick, do not be too concerned; they will eventually separate. There may be a small local reaction, just as with an insect bite. If the tick has been attached for a longer period of time, a ring or rash appears at the site of the bite, or the time period is unknown, you may call your health care provider for guidance.
INSECT REPELLANTS with 20-30% Deet are safe for infants and children when used as directed. Apply to the outside of clothing and exposed skin. Apply to your hands and then rub onto child’s face. Do not use combined Deet and sun protection. The sunscreen may be less effective and Deet should not be continuously reapplied. Wash skin with soap and water when the repellant is no longer needed.
POISON IVY and other plants may not cause an immediate skin reaction; however, reactions typically show over several days. If there is known contact, over the counter Zanfel may be used to wash the area. Treatments that are helpful for skin reactions include calamine lotion, burrows solution and cooling agents such as aloe vera gel. Topical over-the-counter steroids can also provide relief. Occasionally skin reactions are more generalized and may require oral steroids. It may take 1-2 weeks for complete resolution.
SUNBURN is important, including early in the season and on overcast days. A broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15-30 is generally considered adequate. The product should be applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to allow for absorption and needs reapplication every 2 hours after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen can be used on babies under 6 months in small amounts on specific sun-exposed areas. If facial protection is needed , apply a very small amount. If possible, avoid direct sun exposure between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Light clothing and hats offer further protection.
POOL and general water safety is always a concern. Home pools require secure fencing and house doors should be locked to prevent inadvertent access by young children. Water supervision by an adult is important even when a life guard is present. It is important to know water depth before diving or jumping into unknown water situations. For more on pool safety and drowning prevention, read our full article HERE.
LASTLY, HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION!—especially with outdoor sports. If you are running around and sweating a lot, or in the sun for long periods of time, additional electrolyte hydration may be needed; however, plain water usually is fine to keep you appropriately and safety hydrated.
Enjoy this special time of year with family and friends. There are so many joys that come along with this time of year; you just have to manage a few extra things to keep the fun going!
Wishing you many sunny fun- filled days!