When it comes to protecting your kids in hot weather, you already know how important it is to keep them hydrated and apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Dermatology offer these tips for managing other common summertime hazards:
BUG BITES: Ticks and mosquitoes transmit serious diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and West Nile virus. New Jersey had more than 3,600 confirmed cases of Lyme disease alone in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
What to do: Use insect repellant containing 10 to 30 percent DEET or 5 to 10 percent picaridin. To relieve itchy mosquito bites, use topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or an ice pack. During hikes, wear long sleeves and pants and do a head-to-toe tick check at the end of the day. If you find a tick attached to your child, grasp it by its body with a pair of tweezers and pull it straight out without twisting. Save it in a plastic bag and call your pediatrician. Outline the edge of the tick bite with a waterproof marker so you can see if a red skin rash develops beyond the area. This may be a symptom of Lyme disease.
WATER RISKS: Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental injury-related death among kids ages 5 to 19.
What to do: Teach your kids to swim, but never leave them alone in pools, tubs or open water. Even among older kids, most drownings happen when there’s no adult supervision. And if you’re supposed to be watching the kids, put down your phone and pay attention when they’re in the water. Make sure everyone (including you!) wears life jackets when boating.
POISON IVY: The oils from poison ivy leaves can cause an itchy, blistering rash hours to days after contact. Some people are affected after touching a pet that brushed up against the plant, or even just by being in the vicinity of it, since its oils can become airborne.
What to do: When there’s suspected contact, rinse skin for 10 minutes and wash clothing and shoes with soap and water. If a rash occurs, try an oatmeal bath and apply calamine lotion three to four times a day to reduce itching. An over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can decrease inflammation. If the rash is on the face, genitals or most of your child’s body, call your pediatrician. Your child may need oral steroids.