TAWAS CITY – Summer is here, and for many children it is time to get outside and have some fun following the school year. But with summer fun comes bug bites, bumps, bruises and other injuries, according to Ascension St. Joseph Hospital pediatrician Dr. Jo Studley May.
May offers some helpful tips to keep children safe while they enjoy all that summer has to offer.
“Insects such as bees, mosquitoes, spiders and ticks are as active as children during the summer,” says Dr. May. “Ticks are abundant this time of year, so if children are playing in tall grass or wooded areas, dress them in long sleeves and pants, and perform a thorough, head-to-toe tick check before entering the house.
“If you find a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers and pull upward in a slow, steady motion to safely remove the entire tick. Clean the affected area with soap and water. If a fever or rash develops, contact your physician.”
Additional suggestions to consider before children go outdoors are:
• Apply an insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin.
• Avoid bee and wasp stings; keep food and drinks covered when eating outside and don’t wear bright or floral-patterned clothing. If your child is allergic to stings, always carry an EpiPen.
• Avoid mosquito bites by staying away from slow-moving or stagnant water where they breed.
“Children like to play and there’s always a chance for a concussion. Helmets are a must for fast-moving activities like bike riding and skateboarding,” says May. “If your child hits their head, with or without a helmet, watch for possible symptoms of concussion.”
May said symptoms of concussion can include the following:
• Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
• Changes in eating or sleeping
• Difficulty concentrating or remembering
• Headaches or neck pain
• Mood change, such as crankiness or irritability
• Vomiting or the urge to vomit
“If you suspect a concussion, or if symptoms last one to two days, seek medical attention to have the child evaluated,” May said.
May said in Northern Michigan, enjoying water activities is a great way to spend summer days, but it is not without risks. May offers the following “Dos and Don’ts” to help stay safe in and around water:
• Do learn to swim. Being a strong swimmer is a must for those who enjoy water activities.
• Do take a friend along. Even if you are a good swimmer, you never know when you might need help.
• Do know your limits. Watch out for the “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun or too much hard activity.
• Do swim in supervised areas only, and follow all signs and warnings.
• Do wear a life jacket when boating, jet skiing, water skiing, rafting or fishing.
• Do stay alert to currents. They can change quickly. If you get caught in a strong current, do not fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you pass through it.
• Do keep an eye on the weather. In bad weather (dark clouds or lightning), take the fun inside.
• Do not mess around in the water. Pushing or dunking friends can easily get out of hand.
• Do not dive into shallow water.
• Do not float where you cannot swim. Keep checking to see if the water is too deep, or if you are too far away from the shore or the poolside.
“Life feels more normal than the past few summers, so individuals should take advantage of getting outdoors and enjoying all the fun and activities summer offers,” says May. “A few final reminders include keeping children, as well as adults, well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. When it is super hot outdoors, limit time outdoors in extreme heat, and remember to never leave children unattended at the pool or lake.”
If illnesses or injuries arise during the summer, contact your primary care provider. May provides primary care for infants, children and teens, and is accepting new patients at her office, located at 110 Beech Street in Tawas City. She offers care for minor childhood illness and injuries, annual check-ups, well-baby visits, physicals for school and sports, and vaccinations.
The office can be reached at 989-984-3770.
For life-threatening and severe illness and injury, Ascension Michigan ER care teams are available 24/7 including at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital in Tawas City, Ascension Standish Hospital in Standish and 14 other locations across Michigan.