Health Tips: Be Summertime Ready

Written by Zeina Haidar, MD

Summer is here, which, for many families, means more time spent outside and active with friends. As you and your loved ones gear up for summer fun, make sure that you’re prepared so that everybody stays safe and healthy. Below are some common challenges families encounter in the warmer months, along with tips about how best to address them.

Sun and heat: It’s important to stay well-hydrated while enjoying the outdoors on hot days. Additionally, wearing sunscreen (SPF 15 or stronger) will help protect your skin and prevent skin cancer down the line.

Bug bites: Mosquitoes and ticks are abundant in West Virginia over the summer and often carry harmful diseases. Be sure to select a bug repellant that is effective against ticks and apply it in advance of any outdoor excursions, especially to wooded areas. Don’t forget to do a tick check when you get back home!

Swimming: On outings that involve water, make sure children wear a flotation device that is appropriate for their age if they don’t yet know how to swim. Double check that the pool water is clean and well maintained. Sit out if you are sick.

Injuries: Playgrounds are frequently sites of summertime injuries for kids. If you’re headed to the park, pick a safe, well-maintained playground and encourage children to respect each other’s space. When using bikes, scooters, rollerblades/skates, skateboards or 4-wheelers, always wear a helmet and the specified safety gear.

Poison ivy: Most people are allergic to poison ivy as well as plants like poison oak and poison sumac. When out hiking, stay on the designated trail, wear long pants, and familiarize yourself with the appearance of these plants so you can avoid them.

Food poisoning: Food spoils faster in the heat. Extra precautions should be taken to keep food at the proper temperature while enjoying picnics or barbecues. For further information about handling food safely when eating outdoors, consult your provider or refer to this guide from the U.S. Food & Drug administration.

Zeina Haidar, MD offers pediatric health care at Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary.


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