It’s summer once again, time to trade in heavy coats and wool scarfs for shorts, sandals, and sunglasses. Summer is a wonderful way to enjoy the company of family and friends in the warm and inviting venues of the deep south while hiking, camping, exercising or heading out to your favorite beach or lake. Follow these important tips to avoid unpleasant events that could arise during summertime activities.
Dehydration: Bring adequate amounts of healthy liquids on outings. Bottled water and sports drinks replenish important electrolytes, an absolute necessity when spending time outdoors. Sun, wind and high humidity conditions contribute to increased sweating which can cause dehydration. Alcoholic beverages increase the rate of body fluid loss, so drink in moderation. If you feel flushed, weak or disoriented after being outside seek immediate medical treatment. These symptoms can be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Sunburn: You should never leave home without sunblock. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater is recommended. SPF 50 should be applied to the face, especially in young children and those more susceptible to sun damage. Repeated sunburns are linked to certain types of skin cancers. Even “water proof” sunscreens should be allowed to dry completely on the skin before entering the water. Repeat application is recommended after several hours. If you’re sunburned, DO NOT apply drying agents such as alcohol, mentholated liquids, or butter. Aloe based gels and creams are recommended. Some products come with topical lidocaine, which helps with temporary pain relief. Motrin or Tylenol by mouth can also help ease discomfort. A sever burn or a burn over a large surface area should be examined by a medical professional immediately.
Insect Stings: Bites and stings are inevitable. Most can be treated at home using antihistamine creams or lotions such as Benadryl or other similar over-the-counter products. Wasp stings to the face, neck, or the ends of fingers or toes should be examined by a medical professional (particularly if significant swelling occurs). In rare instances bites or stings can precipitate a life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. This condition is a true emergency and 911 should be contacted immediately. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, flushing of the skin, decreased consciousness, and profuse sweating. Early intervention by paramedics can mean the difference between life and death.
Bumps, bruises and lacerations: Summer activities increase the risk of accidents ranging from small scraps, cuts and bruises to major traumatic injuries. Minor scraps (abrasions) can be treated with a store bought antibacterial ointment or spray such as Bactine or Neosporin. Cuts (lacerations) should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine if stitches or staples are needed. Most lay persons are familiar with the technique of medical personnel using “super glue” to close shallow wounds. THE GLUE USED IN MEDICAL FACILITIES IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR WOUND CLOSURE. INDUSTRIAL GRADE SUPER GLUE AND SIMILAR PRODUCTS CAN BE HARMFUL AND TOXIC TO THE SKIN. SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS ARISE WHEN WOUND CLOSURE WITH INDUSTRIAL GLUE OCCURS IN-HOME WITHOUT MEDICAL INTERVENTION.
Blunt trauma to the limbs (falls, direct blows with a baseball, bat, or collisions with immovable objects) can result in broken bones (fractures). Anyone experiencing such an event should be evaluated by a medical professional. The potential for fractures is high with certain traumatic events. If swelling, decreased function, deformity or significant pain is present after an accident, medical care should be sought immediately. X rays will determine the presence or absence of a fracture. Keep the limb immobilized and elevated until you reach a medical facility.
Final points to consider: Summer outings can bring some of the most endearing memories for families to cherish. Practicing safety and responsibility is the hallmark of joyful activities. Have an awesome and relaxing summer, and enjoy all the wonderful things Louisiana has to offer!
If you have any questions contact Velocity Urgent Treatment Center and speak with a Health Care provider.