With your kids spending more time outside now that summer is around the corner, here is how you can treat common summer ailments they may experience:
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- Splinters – Superficial splinters that are pain free can be left in the skin. These splinters will eventually work their way out. For larger splinters that hurt, you’ll need a needle and pair of tweezers. First, sterilize the tools and the skin around the splinter with rubbing alcohol. Using plenty of light, and a magnifying glass if needed, use the needle to expose the end of the sliver. Then, grasp the end with the tweezers and pull the sliver out at the same angle it went in. Be sure to remove all parts of sliver, using the needle to flick out any remaining debris. Wash the area with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment if needed.
- Scraped knees and elbows – clean minor cuts and scrapes with cool water and unscented soaps.
- Sunburn – First, you should always use sunscreen on children 6 months and older, with at least SPF 15, when spending time outdoors. Be sure to apply every two hours, especially after swimming or toweling off. If your child does get sunburn, give him or her water to replace lost fluids. You can use cold water to relieve burning of the skin and an over the counter medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, on kids 6 months and older. Be sure to keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed. If the sunburn is severe and starts to blister or your child develops a fever, call his or her pediatrician immediately.
- Heat rash – Heat rash displays as tiny red bumps in areas such as skin folds of the neck, upper chest, arms, legs, and diaper area. Dress your child in light, cool clothing, use cool water to clean these areas regularly, and let the areas breathe in open air as often as possible.
- Bug bites – The worst thing about bug bites is controlling itching. Apply ice to the bite to reduce swelling and a hydrocortisone cream to alleviate itching. Try to prevent scratching by keeping fingernails trimmed.
- Ticks - Do not twist, poke at, squash, or burn the tick. Any of these actions may cause the tick to either break and remain lodged in your child’s skin or regurgitate or salivate the infected fluids into the bloodstream. Do not smother the tick with petroleum jelly, alcohol, or any other substance. This does not work because ticks generally store enough oxygen to continue feeding. Do not use your fingers to remove the tick or to crush it after removal. This may also lead to infection. Grab the tick as close to its mouthparts as possible with blunt-tip, fine-point tweezers. Then gently pull the tick straight back. After removal, put the tick in a sealed plastic bag and place it in the trash outside your home.
- Swimmer’s ear - To prevent swimmer’s ear, you should keep your ears clean and dry. Also try wearing a swim cap or earplugs while swimming, and make sure to dry your ears thoroughly with a towel or hair dryer after you’ve been in the water. Should you find yourself with the symptoms of swimmer’s ear, talk with your doctor. Using prescription antibiotic eardrops or other medications can usually reduce inflammation and promote healing. During treatment, make sure to keep your ears clean and dry to avoid further discomfort.