By Charles Brickner, MD, and Robert Paynter, MD
Pediatricians at Atrium Health Children’s Care One Health Pediatrics Brookview Hills
With summer upon us, we expect to start seeing some of the familiar ailments related to the much-desired increase in outdoor activity – sunburn, insect bites, poison ivy and more. With safety in mind, here are some tips for you and your child.
Stay Safe in the Heat
Never leave an infant or child alone in a closed car, even for a moment. That’s true anytime but especially in the summer when a closed car can heat up as much as 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
Also, keep your kids hydrated. They need plenty of water when they are out in the heat. Children playing summer sports should drink plenty of water the night before a day of practice and keep drinking all day long, before they become thirsty.
Protect Against Sunburn
Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and regardless of what the label might say, it’s best to reapply every hour or two. It pays to take precautions against sunburns because they make us more vulnerable to skin cancer later in life. A typical sunburn is the same as a first-degree burn. If it blisters, it’s a second-degree burn.
As for treatment, it’s best to wait for the sunburn to heal and avoid a second burn. It’s fine to use a moisturizer, with or without aloe vera, to soothe sunburn. Avoid creams with topical antihistamines – they may sensitize a patient to that medication and lead to an allergic reaction.
Be Safe in and Around the Water
When around water, stay near to your child and never let a child near water unattended. A child can drown in six inches of water, and it only takes a moment for them to wander from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end.
When you’re in a boat, always wear an approved life jacket, and never mix alcohol and boating – for your children’s sake and for yours.
Keep Bugs at Bay
Mosquito bites are mostly an annoyance, but in rare cases they can carry West Nile virus, encephalitis or other illnesses. Ticks can be more than an annoyance. In this part of the country, they can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever – although it’s rare, it can be deadly.
It’s best to spray exposed skin and clothes with insect repellent. Some parents may worry about exposing children to insect repellents that contain DEET, but research has not found any measurable risk.
If you or someone in your family develops a fever that lasts more than three days, see a doctor, especially if you know of a tick bite. As for those itchy insect bites, over-the-counter cortisone creams work best.
For those who are caring for children during the summer, please remember that by caring for yourself, you’ll be better able to care for them.
Make sure you get enough to eat, drink and sleep just as your children do, and that you’re getting the exercise you need. Develop healthy routines just as you would for your child – that may mean walking regularly or setting aside time for a hobby.
Children learn from watching their parents and caregivers. When they see you taking care of yourself, they’ll be more likely to learn that it’s important for them to do the same.
With our new Atrium Health Children’s Care One Health Pediatrics Brookview Hills practice, families have a new option for the best care for their children.
We provide full pediatric care, with well-child checkups, same-day sick visits, immunizations, management and treatment of chronic conditions, physicals for school and sports camps and much more. The two of us – Drs. Charles Brickner and Robert Paynter – along with Dorinda Bricolo, NP, and Megan Shelton, NP, are ready to care for you and your child. We’re at 3333 Brookview Hills Boulevard, just off Hanes Mall Boulevard. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.