Each summer I see a number of patients suffering from preventable ailments, or issues easily treated at home. While it’s smart to schedule annual check-ups between June and August (when the office is less busy with sick visits), here are some tips I’ve developed to help you avoid spending a beautiful afternoon sitting in the doctor’s office.
Prevent nasty sunburns by choosing a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection to avoid sunburn as well as other types of skin damage. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s current sunscreen recommendations. Don’t forget to reapply at least every two hours – sweating, being in the water, and toweling off can degrade the active ingredients in sunscreen.
While a trip to the doctor’s office is warranted for more severe reactions (like swelling or difficulty breathing), many cases of poison ivy exposure can be treated at home. If you believe your child has been exposed to poison ivy, immediately rinse the skin with lukewarm water and wash anything that may have come in contact with the plant. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can be used to calm hyper-irritated skin.
Food safety is an important factor in keeping well over the summer months. Keep picnic foods at 40°F or cooler to prevent bacterial growth. Take particular care with mayonnaise-based foods (such as pasta and potato salads), meats and melon, which can breed bacteria like salmonella. Foods like nut butter sandwiches, dried fruits, and shelf-stable snacks that do not need refrigeration are the best bet. Remember to always ask children to wash their hands before eating, too!
From causing trips and falls, to exposing the skin to cuts and scrapes, going shoeless or opting for flip-flops instead of quality shoes can cause more needless harm than most parents realize. Pick closed-toed shoes to give little feet the protection they need.