Keep kids safe from common summer illnesses and injuries

Amy Spangler, APRN-CPNP

       Summertime is in full swing, and with it brings a potential for increased risk of pediatric injuries.
        Some parents will find themselves visiting an urgent care due to an illness or injury from summer activities but making oneself aware can help reduce the risk.
        Many children spend the summer months biking, walking, climbing and participating in outdoor play. These fun activities are also some of the leading causes of minor injuries. Some of the most common minor injuries are sunburn, burns from outdoor fires or fireworks, sprains and strains, and abrasions or lacerations from falls.
        Parents can help children stay safe by enforcing safe play practices and taking preventative measures.
        • If a child is biking or playing a sport, protective equipment such as a helmet and knee pads can help lessen the likelihood of a sprain or laceration.
        • Children have thinner skin, which makes them more susceptible to sunburn. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often, especially when sweating or swimming.
        • When around a campfire or fireworks, parents should make sure their child is well-educated on fire safety to help avoid potential injury.
        • During the summer, children are also more prone to swimmer’s ear, rashes and insect bites/stings. When outside in tick or mosquito heavy areas, it is recommended to wear long sleeves and long pants, tucking pants inside the socks. Apply bug spray on clothing so children do not absorb the chemicals through their skin.
        • As we learned with COVID-19, keeping away from others when ill and handwashing are always good strategies to reduce the spread of common illnesses.
        When should a parent take their child to see a doctor for a summer injury? If there is any head injury that is causing abnormal behavior, a child should be evaluated in the emergency room. If an injury causes an obvious deformity, it may require immediate orthopedic intervention and should be seen in the emergency room. Any large loss of blood or bleeding that is not controlled necessitates a call to 911.
        Parents can always contact their primary care provider to get specific advice and see if the concern warrants a visit and if so, the type of visit to seek.
        Amy Spangler is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and lead for Pediatrics ProMedica Physicians Group Urgent Care.


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