Your Quick Guide to Summer Safety

mother applying sunblock cream on daughter shoulderSummer is for relaxing weekends and fun vacations — until time at the beach results in a blistering sunburn or you’re miserable from the poison ivy you picked up while camping. To help keep you and your family healthy and happy for the rest of the summer, follow this guide to safety.

Enjoy Sun Without the Sizzle 

Your risk for melanoma doubles if you’ve had just five sunburns in your life. Try these tips to avoid or treat sunburns.

Prevention

  • Look for a minimum SPF 30 sunscreen that protects from both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Reapply sunscreen after swimming and drying off, even if the bottle says it’s waterproof.
  • A wide-brimmed hat and breathable long sleeve shirt can also help protect you.
  • Watch the clock to avoid being outdoors from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., when the sun can do the most damage.

Treatment

  • Soak the burn in cool water or put a cool, wet cloth on it.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Apply an aloe cream.
  • If you are itching, try an over-the-counter antihistamine cream or spray.
Prevent the Itch of Poisonous Plants 

Avoiding a rash requires a keen eye. Talk with your family about these tips for an itch-free summer.

Prevention

  • Teach all family members how to identify poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac.
  • Make sure these plants aren’t lurking in your backyard and or around a campsite.
  • When hiking, look for a well-cleared path.
  • Wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt can also help protect you.
  • Don’t let pets run through wooded areas as they can carry the poison residue on their fur.

Treatment

  • Wash your skin with soap and water within 30 minutes to an hour after exposure to reduce the severity of the rash.
  • Wash any clothing that has been in contact with the poison.
  • Apply an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream for the first few days.
  • Take oral antihistamines, which may also help you sleep better.
  • Soak in a cool bath containing an oatmeal-based bath product.
  • Place cool, wet compresses on the affected area for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day.
Keep Water at Hand 

While dehydration can happen any time, it is more common in the hot summer. When spending time outdoors, try these tips to stay well hydrated. If you start exhibiting signs of dehydration, such as feeling dizzy and weak, follow the treatment steps below right away.  

Prevention

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Schedule your outdoor activities for the early morning or evening.

Treatment

  • Go indoors and lie down.
  • Cool off with ice packs or cool cloths.
  • Slowly drink fluids designed to re-hydrate, such as a sports drink.
Test Your Tick Knowledge 

There are plenty of myths about ticks and the best way to remove them. Be sure you know the facts.

Prevention

  • Use a bug repellant.
  • If playing or working in areas with long grass, wear pants and a long sleeve shirt.
  • Check your pets for ticks.
  • After time outdoors, check your skin and scalp for any ticks.

Treatment

  • If you find a tick, don’t remove it with your bare hands. Use fine-tipped tweezers or put on gloves. You can also cover your hands with tissue paper.
  • Do not try to smother a tick that is attached with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol. This may increase your risk of infection.
  • Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if necessary.
  • Wash the area of the tick bite with plenty of warm water and soap.
  • If you develop headache, fever, a rash, muscle aches, or nausea within one to three days after a tick bite, see your doctor right away. This could indicate Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease.
When a Doctor Can Help

If your sunburn or rash is severe, or if you develop flu-like symptoms after a tick bite, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. If it is the evening or weekend, visit an urgent care center or the emergency room.

Also, be aware of heat stroke symptoms, such as a fever, confusion, rapid breathing, or nausea. If you suspect a heat stroke, get to the nearest emergency room.

The providers at LeBauer HealthCare can advise you on the best treatment for those pesky summer rashes, burns, and bites. We have six convenient primary care locations in Greensboro, Oak Ridge, Burlington, High Point, and Whitsett. Schedule your appointment today.

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