Summer break may be filled with endless possibilities of fun for kids, but it can also come with just as many worries for parents.
Bug bites, sun burn, heat exposure, and injuries are among the top complaints Our Lady of the Lake pediatrician, Dr. Gregory Gelpi, says he sees in the summer months. Gelpi explains his first concern is dehydration.
"During the summertime, we know, especially in the Deep South, that we have a lot of heat in our area. So one thing is hydration, plenty of fluids, plenty of water," said Gelpi.
Bug bites are another constant problem, as mother, Heather Hearne, discovered after moving to Louisiana from California. She says keeping mosquitoes away from her three girls has proved to be a challenge. “We try to do Off. We’ve got the candles, my husband has this electric bug zapper,” said Hearne. “We try everything."
Gelpi says luckily, Louisiana is “fairly safe” when it comes to insect borne illnesses.
“We’re fortunate that we don’t have a lot of Zika here. We don’t have malaria. We don’t have yellow fever. Usually, these bites, it’s localized reactions,” said Gelpi.
Dr. Gelpi points out most bites will heal within a few days, but parents should watch for signs of infection, such as lasting swelling, puss, or soreness. In those cases, Gelpi advises a cortisone cream or Benadryl. Bug spray or insect repellant containing Deet is also the best bet to protect against bites.
Sunscreen is also a vital tool in summer safety, explains Gelpi, who advises an SPF 30 or higher anytime you’re outside. Also, reapply frequently. “We know with sunburns that we’re really protecting children from the future, which is future skin cancers,” said Gelpi.
To prevent injuries, Gelpi says parents should talk to their kids about being safe while playing, especially around water. “It’s very important to watch your kids, and not just rely on the lifeguard watching. You’re responsible for your child,” said Gelpi.
Finally, Gelpi says the summer time is a great time to schedule your annual checkup or physical. With the kids out of school, he says it’s much easier to get in and out and back to playing.
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