Guest Author - Beverly Patchell
Summer is here in full force and it is not too late to make sure your adolescent can take care of themselves in the summer season. If you live in a hot and humid climate, heat stress is a very real consequence of being outside and overheating from work or exercise. In humid environments, the body does not sweat as much as it does in drier climates and thus the body cannot cool itself as efficiently. Hydration is important in any environment, but for humidity, nothing beats taking a cool break, in the shade or inside, to allow the body to cool down. Symptoms to look for that a break is needed include dizziness, shortness of breath, excess fatigue, and flushing; there is also potential for altered consciousness and/or fainting if it becomes excessive.
Skin issues can occur from insect bites and plant exposure, causing rashes and allergic reactions. Prevention is key for this area, knowing what plants can cause a rash or reaction and staying away from them; using topical lotions or sprays to keep insects away. Citronella candles can also be used to discourage mosquitoes and flies. If an insect bite occurs, the reaction should be localized, with itching and swelling. Generally, the biggest issue with an insect bite is the discomfort, which can usually be relieved by ice and/or topical ointments. Essential oils, such as lavender or melalueca are also good for insect stings. Oatmeal baths help with rashes such as from poison ivy or poison oak, but many plants can cause reactions.
Knowing what caused the bite is important and should guide the response. Obviously, a fiddleback or black widow spider bite or any bite that causes an anaphylactic reaction is a medical emergency and warrants immediate medical attention.
Sunburn is another common issue in summer, so sun block and limiting sun time are the keys to prevention in this area. Sunburn can cause pain, swelling, redness, and discomfort depending on the degree of the burn. Delicate skin takes special care and some skins need extra protection. Skin should also be checked routinely for changes that could need attention from a physician, changes in moles or rashes of unknown origin.
Hope your July 4th is safe and happy!