Summer’s heating up! Now’s the perfect time to have health and safety conversations with your patients–and their parents.
Here are our top 9 topics to educate and counsel your patients on to get them on the right path for a safe summer.
Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. How can you counsel patients to help lower this stat?
A few tips the AAP recommends that can be passed on to parents:
- Always supervise children while swimming
- Enroll children in swimming lessons
- Make sure children wear life jackets while near open bodies of water
- If you have a pool at home, make sure it’s fenced in
Not only are sunburns painful in the short-term, they can have negative lasting effects. If patients start young and protect their skin by using an SPF of at least 15 or higher, they can reduce their chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%.
According to the CDC, each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Make sure children are always supervised during play time.
The CDC recommends that children and adolescents do an hour a day or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Since children don't have PE class to keep them active during the summer months, it’s important to make sure they are getting active. Obesity rates are highest in adolescents 12-19 years of age.
With the summer heat beating down and children participating in rigorous activities, it’s important to make sure they are well hydrated. If kids are participating in summer sports, parents should be aware of the best time to start hydration.
Hydration, including water and electrolyte replacement, is very important for athletes: It helps regulate body temperature and replaces losses that occur during exercise. Hydration must begin 3-4 hours prior to activity and continue throughout and after exercise. Higher environmental temperatures and humidity necessitate more fluids.
After a day on the field, patients should eat recovery foods that contain both carbohydrates and protein to help replenish muscle glycogen and protein.
Proper hydration is key for kids in the summer, but we don't want them loading up on sugary drinks. So emphasize the health benefits of choosing water rather than sugary drinks, like soda. Some parents may not know that a can of soda can contain around 10 teaspoons of sugar. Children and teens who drink lots of sugary drinks are more likely to be overweight.
Use bug spray to avoid bug bites and check for ticks after playing outside. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S. In 2015, it was the 6th most-common nationally-notifiable disease. There are ~30,000 confirmed and ~10,000 probable cases per year reported to the CDC. It’s true incidence, however, is likely to be higher, as it’s estimated that only 1 in 10 cases are reported.
Poison ivy and oak
Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when on trails, and in grassy and forested areas. About 85% of the population is allergic to poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak—and about 10 to 15 percent are extremely allergic. This is the most common allergic reaction in the U.S. and affects as many as 50 million Americans each year.
Want a deeper dive into the topics above? Check out the Pediatrics Core books.