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As much as we’d love to see you any time of year, a trip to immediate care can really put a damper on summer fun. Here are a few ways adults and kids can stay safe this season:
Ticks and mosquitoes can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, West Nile virus and Zika, so it’s important to wear an insect repellant with DEET when outside. This is especially important in grassy areas and near pools of standing water. Be sure to check for ticks after coming inside.
If you get stung by a wasp or bee, use a credit card or your fingernail to scrape the stinger off your skin. An ice pack will reduce swelling and discomfort. Treat the itch of a bite or sting with a topical antiseptic or hydrocortisone cream.
Sunburns can cause lasting damage to your skin, including skin cancers like melanoma, so use sunblock whenever you’ll be outside, including on cloudy days. Choose one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 15. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or exercising. Lightweight clothing like pants, wide-brimmed hats, and long-sleeved shirts offer even more sun protection.
When swimming, it’s always best to have a buddy. Children should never swim without adult supervision, and should never be left alone near a pool or other body of water. A good rule of thumb is to make sure a child is always within arm’s reach of an adult while in the water. Make sure rescue equipment is easily accessible, and take your phone to the pool or lake in case you need to call for help.
On a boat, children should wear a properly-fitting life jacket that is worn correctly. Swim aids like arm floaties are not life-saving devices. Life jackets are also a good safety measure for adults. Alcohol and boating are just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car, so never operate a boat under the influence or ride with someone who’s been drinking.
Drink extra water, and drink before you feel thirsty. Remind children to drink often, because they may not notice their thirst until they’re already dehydrated. Never leave babies, children, adults or animals in a closed vehicle. Plan most outdoor activity for cooler hours during the early morning and late evening. If you must be outside in the middle of the day, dress in loose, light clothing and take frequent breaks in the shade.
Accidents will happen, so make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with hydrocortisone cream for itching, aloe vera to soothe burns and scrapes, bandages, antibiotic ointment, tweezers for extracting ticks and splinters, sunscreen, bug spray and pain relievers. Depending on your family’s individual needs, you may also want to include medicines for allergies and motion-sickness or ear drying drops to prevent swimmer’s ear. It’s also a good idea to pack a small first aid kit with these items to keep in the car, especially for road trips.