Keys to a Healthy Summer
Summer is in full swing, and it’s never too late to make sure your child stays healthy and safe while enjoying warm weather activities. The team at Judson Center Health sees a lot of common medical issues this time of the year that often can be prevented by taking a few precautions.
Preventing Bug Bites
For example, preventing bug bites is an important part of summer. Experts have warned this could be the worst season ever for ticks. These little pests can transmit several types of diseases to humans, including Lyme disease.
“We’ve been prepared for an influx of tick bites,” said MedNetOne Associate Medical Director Elizabeth Haberkorn, who is a family nurse practitioner at Judson Center. “When camping or hiking, make sure you have bug protection for the entire family. For example, an insect repellent with DEET for anyone over two months of age.”
Another frequent health problem in the summer is dehydration, especially when the temperature soars into the upper 80s and 90s.
“The key is ensuring children have water bottles near them that they can grab and sip as needed,” says Haberkorn. “Typically, kids are pretty good at trying to regulate those types of things, but you have to make sure the water is easily accessible. If it’s right in front of them, they’ll drink it. But if it’s not, they’d rather continue playing than have to go get the water.”
When it comes to sunscreen, she emphasizes the need to constantly reapply it, especially when the kids are swimming. “I drive my kids nuts,” she says, “because every time they get out of the water they have to put sunscreen back on. You have to make sure it is reapplied as often as necessary and use an SPF of 50 on kids with pretty fair skin.”
Staying Safe During Activities
Additionally, the clinic team treats children who suffer injuries from riding bicycles or playing outdoor sports. Haberkorn stresses the use of protective gear.
“This is the time to emphasize helmet safety for bike riders and make sure that they fit well,” she says. “Adults should wear a helmet too if they’re going out riding with their kids to set a good example. Kids who play soccer need well-fitting shin guards, and helmets for those playing football. I also have a first aid kit in my car for simple wound care, just in case an injury happens.”
Swimming and sunburn are two other areas of concern during the summer. Haberkorn encourages adults to designate someone to watch the kids at the pool or the beach. In a group setting, accidents are more likely to happen because people assume someone in the group is watching the children.
Preparing for a Healthy School Year with Judson Center
Although we’re not in a rush to say goodbye to summer yet, it’s important to prepare for children to return to school. As a preventative health tool, Judson Center Health encourages families to bring their kids in for well-child visits.
“Well-child visits are the equivalent of the adult annual physical,” explains Haberkorn. “It is a complete physical exam that addresses the whole person and every part of their health. We review the child’s vaccine records and make sure the family has the resources needed to be up-to-date and track their developmental milestones. We also have conversations appropriate to the child’s age about any sensitive physical or behavioral health issues. If a child needs further evaluation, we make referrals and ensure the family gets what they need to thrive. For example, if an autism diagnosis is suspected or a child needs dental help, we can refer for those services. We touch on it all.”
As we soak in the waning weeks of summer and autumn approaches, being intentional about the health of our children and teens is important. Let’s commit to practicing these preventative measures and scheduling well-child visits before school begins. Until then, here’s to a healthy, safe and fun summer!