Will your child have a healthy summer?
By Charlotte Louise Nystrom
The smashing fun of summer can come to a sudden halt if your child gets sick or injured. Following these simple tips can ensure that they get to enjoy healthy summer adventures.
Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids on warm days. If they complain that water is boring, present it in an exciting way. Purchase a colorful new water bottle, or try adding frozen berries as ice cubes. Have them take a few sips 30 minutes before going outdoors, and again after every half hour. Limit your children's physical activity during extremely hot days. Keep a watchful eye on how much they are sweating and replenish their fluids accordingly. A sports drink containing electrolytes can also help replace lost sodium.
Before your children venture out into the sun, apply a broad spectrum sun block with a minimum sun protection factor of 15. Encourage your kids to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed to shield their face. Try to keep them in the shade as much as possible. Stay indoors during midday when the UV rays are the strongest.
Bug Bites, Bee Stings and Ticks
Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, while bee stings hurt and ticks can pass on Lyme disease. Cover your child's clothing and any exposed skin with insect repellent. The CDC recommends choosing one that contains DEET. Teach your child to steer clear of bees and hornets. They should be particularly mindful around bright colored flowers. Scan your backyard or local park for hives and contact a local pest control agency to remove them promptly. Keep your child out of areas where the grass is overgrown. Regularly check your child's skin and clothing, and learn the right way to remove a tick.
Learn how to recognize poison ivy, sumac and oak. Use pictures to teach your child how to spot these pesky plants too. You can even make flash cards to carry in your first aid kit for a quick reference. When preparing for a hike, dress your child in pants or long socks to prevent the plants from brushing against their skin. If contact is made then you can expect itchiness and a rash or blisters to appear within 8 to 48 hours.
Start all meal preparations with clean hands and rewash them after handling meats. If a wash station is not available at your park or playground, then be sure to pack some hand sanitizer. Cook your child's food thoroughly, do not serve them rare hamburgers or steak. Keep an eye on the ice in your cooler to prevent spoilage. Avoid serving mayonnaise-based salads or dairy products, which are prone to spoil in the heat. Keep foods covered and limit how long they sit out.
If your child's healthy summer plans are interrupted, contact an Atlanta doctor to learn the best treatment to follow.
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