While the frigid winter months are generally more associated with colds, the summer’s inviting outdoor weather brings with it a different set of health hazards. Here’s a list of tips for keeping your kids healthy in the summer.

  • Heat-related-illnesses occur when our bodies lose the ability to cool themselves. Young children (as well as the elderly) are especially susceptible to these illnesses because they have less ability to regulate their body’s internal temperature. Signs of overheating can include red skin, a lack of sweating, headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, and loss of consciousness. To prevent overheating, make sure your children drink plenty of water and take time to relax in shady, cool areas. To learn more about heat-related-illness, click here.
  • Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are also much more common during the summer, as people flock to pools, lakes and beaches. RWIs are generally problems caused by bacteria which enter our systems when we accidentally swallow contaminated water. RWIs can also be skin rashes or respiratory illnesses. Proper chemical maintenance is the key to preventing RWIs in pools. Reminding your child not to swallow the water at pools, lakes, and beaches will also help prevent RWIs. To learn more about RWIs, click here.
  • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac present other outdoor concerns, especially in wooded areas and camping grounds. These plants produce oils that are skin irritants and can cause a wide range of symptoms from redness and itchiness to painful blisters. Poison ivy generally produces the most mild effects and poison sumac the most severe. The trick to avoiding these plants is to stay on designated walking paths in parks and campsites, and to wear proper footwear, including high socks. If your child has an itchy, red rash after running through an area you suspect may contain one of these plants, make sure to wash the area with mild soap and water as soon as possible after exposure. Itching is common, but may cause infections. For descriptions and photos to help identify these plants, click here.

Summer is a great time to get outside and get active! We hope these tips help you all have a happy and healthy summer. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, please contact your child’s primary care provider.