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Safety for Summer Fun - Part 3

 
 

8. Use a Medication
Allergy medications can help you conquer pollen. If over-the-counter varieties don’t work for you, ask your doctor for advice. Allergy shots may be your best option.

If your child has allergies, you should always ask a doctor for help!

Allergy Medications
Antihistamines
  • Best if your allergy bothers you only sometimes and for short periods of time
  • Come as pills or nasal sprays
  • Some available without a prescription
  • Can make you drowsy; look for non-drowsy formula
Corticosteroids (such as cortisone, etc.)
  • Best for long-term therapy
  • Need to take them every day
  • Very effective
Decongestants
  • Help to clear your stuffy nose
  • Come as nasal sprays or pills
  • Never use a nasal spray for more than 3 days in a row!

Call for More Help
Remember, you are not alone with your allergies. You should call a doctor if:

  • None of the over-the-counter medications helped.
  • You have severe allergy symptoms.
  • A treatment that has helped in the past does not work anymore.
  • Your doctor prescribed a treatment, but it does not work for you.

Protect Yourself from Poison Ivy!
Poison ivy is a common plant. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter it when enjoying a summer day in the great outdoors. And it’s usually an unfortunate encounter, leaving you with a super-itchy rash. The rash develops 1 to 4 days after the oil (called urushiol) of the plant touches your body. New patches of the rash can appear days after you find the first itchy areas on your skin.

9. Prevent the Rash
If you think you’ve touched poison ivy:

  • Protect yourself with a barrier cream that contains “bentoquatam”
  • Wash your skin within 10 minutes to prevent the rash! Or within 1 hour to make it less severe.
  • Wash clothing and equipment to get rid of the urushiol on them. Do it carefully, so you don’t get the oil on your skin!

10. Manage the Rash
If you find the poison ivy rash on your skin, don’t panic. It usually heals on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. But living with poison ivy rash is not exactly a vacation. It’s itchy! Very itchy! So, what do you do? Here are some tips:

  • Beat the itch with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
  • Wear pink! That is, put loads of calamine lotion on the rash.
  • Apply cool 15-minute compresses several times a day.
  • Soak in a cool baking soda or colloidal oatmeal (not the kind you eat) bath.
  • For a good nights sleep, get rid of the itch with an antihistamine.

See a Doctor
You should get help from a doctor, if the rash:

  • Develops all over your body.
  • Shows up in your eyes, mouth, or genitals.
  • Oozes puss.
  • Gives you a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
  • Doesn’t get better on its own.

Keep Insects at Bay!
Ticks and mosquitos are not only annoying, they can give you Lyme disease or West Nile Virus—not exactly what you wanted from a day of summer fun! But you can do much to protect yourself and your family:

11. Tick Tips
Staying safe in tick-infested areas is all about making yourself as unattractive as possible—to the ticks that is:

  • Put insect repellent on your body and your clothes.
  • Stay in the middle of cleared paths—especially in humid places near or in woods or grassy areas.
  • Wear light-colored, long pants and sleeves—and tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Conduct a body check after coming home—pay special attention to warm, sweaty body parts.
  • Remove any ticks as soon as you notice them.

12. Mosquito Musts
Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk. When you are in an area with big swarms of the little pests, consider staying indoors at those times of day. But there are some less drastic measures you can use to take yourself off the mosquito menu plan:

  • Apply insect repellent.
  • Change into long sleeves and pants when you notice the first mosquito.
  • If you get mosquito bites, apply more bug repellent!

Repellent Rules
To have effective and safe protection, it’s best to choose a bug repellent that has been checked out and approved by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (better known as the CDC).

CDC-Approved Bug Repellents
Approved for Skin or Clothes
  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • PMD (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus)
  • IR3535
Approved for Clothes
  • Permethrin

Maybe you rarely read instructions, but with bug repellents, it’s important to read and follow the information that comes with the product!

In addition, make these safety strategies part of your bug-fighting routine:

  • Never use bug repellents under clothing—only on exposed skin or clothes.
  • Keep repellent away from your nose, mouth and eyes. And be careful with it around your ears.
  • Start with a thin film of repellent. If this doesn’t keep the bugs away, use more.
  • Most repellents should be washed off your skin and clothing every day.
  • Don’t allow children to handle bug repellent, and don’t apply it to their hands. (Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on kids under 3 years old.)

Remember, with a little bit of pre-planning, your summer outings will be fun and memorable for all the right reasons!

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References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Choose Your Cover. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Got Water? Keep It Available and Keep It Clean! Accessed June 20, 2010.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Play It Safe in the Sun. A Guide for Parents. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stop Ticks. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated Information Regarding Mosquito Repellents, May 8, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). West Nile Virus: What You Need to Know. Accessed June 20, 2010.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Poison Ivy Rash. Accessed June 20, 2010.

MedlinePlus. Allergic Rhinitis Accessed June 20, 2010.



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