How to Prevent and Treat Common Summer Ailments From Bug Bites to Poison Ivy

Maryland winters are harsh, but the warm months bring common warm weather ailments. With the dog days right around the corner, you might be worried about potential summertime pitfalls like bug bites and poison ivy. 

At Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland, Dr. Ugonma (Ugo) Harriet Okparaocha keeps you and your family healthy all year long. Whether you’re planning a trip to the beach or a backyard barbecue, here are some tips to help keep you and your family ailment-free this summer.

The sun: friend or foe?

Even though the sun is your best source of essential vitamin D, it can also be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your melanin is responsible for the color in your pigment, designed to absorb the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UV), preventing them from doing any internal damage.

People with darker skin tones soak up these damaging rays better than lighter-skinned people, but the absorbed radiation is still harmful. In fact, skin cancers among People of Color (POC) are potentially more dangerous since they’re more challenging to spot in earlier stages.

We urge you to practice proper sun protection to protect yourself. An easy way to remember sun protection is witty the rhyming phrase, “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap,” which means:

These rules of thumb are fundamental during peak sun hours, typically between 10 am and 4 pm.

Stay hydrated

Another common summertime problem is dehydration. You lose moisture at a much faster rate during the hot months than in the wintertime. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the summer to avoid dehydration and fatigue.

A nifty way to know if you’re drinking enough water every day is the 8-of-8 rule — you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, minimum.

Say goodbye to bugs

Other summer hazards are stings and bug bites. Whether you’re taking a stroll down your street or hanging in the park, bees, mosquitos, wasps, ticks, and hornets are everywhere. However, protection against these bugs isn’t a fruitless venture. In fact, a few safety measures can take you a long way toward warding off dangerous bug bites and stings. 

For instance, if you’re heading to the park, apply some insect repellent with 20-30% DEET. Also, consider covering up with clothing like long sleeves, pants, and high socks. Wearing a hat is incredibly important as well because insects can invade from the air or drop from trees. Lots of critters are found in the grass, too, so head-to-toe protection is a wise idea.

If you are stung by an insect, apply ice to reduce the swelling. If your swelling doesn’t subside or you develop hives, please visit us at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center as soon as possible. Lastly, if a tick bites you and you’re unsure how to extract it from your skin, don’t attempt to remove it yourself. Give us a call so that we can help.

Dangerous plants

As summer foliage turns from gray to green and bare branches transform into lush vegetation, not everything emerging is harmless. Poison ivy is an extremely robust plant that crops up in vacant lots and all over parks and nature preserves. 

Poison ivy is a vine-like plant that leaves you with an itchy, miserable rash, treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) medications made especially for poison ivy. If your rash spreads or becomes infected, don’t hesitate to call our experts in Bel Air. This itch-inducing plant has three pointed leaves, so it’s easily recognizable if you remember “leaves of three, let it be.”

Stinging nettle is another harmful plant you can learn to recognize. It’s typically found near water sources and grows relatively tall. If you’re walking through plants and find yourself feeling an instant, stinging pain, it’s likely stinging nettle. Fortunately, the pain and itching last only minutes.

We’re here to help

You shouldn’t be scared to enjoy these coming warm months. Instead, protect yourself with knowledge and proper precautions. With a few of these easy prevention methods, you’ll remain safe and healthy all summer long.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (410) 504-6676 or send us a secure message to contact us.

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