QUICK FIXES FOR SUMMER OUCHES
Don’t let injuries spoil summertime fun
Don’t let injuries spoil summertime fun
Summer is usually filled with fun outdoor activities, like chowing down at a backyard barbecue, swimming at the pool or playing at the park. But, what do parents do when these summertime soirees turn into injuries for kids?
It’s tough to be a bug (and a kid with bug bites) In Louisiana and the South, one of the chief summertime pests is the mosquito. Mosquito bites typically cause red, swollen, itchy areas on the skin. It can be difficult to prevent all mosquito bites, but there are some methods to reducing mosquito bites. Studies show that repellent with DEET tends to provide longer protection. Studies have also shown that oil of lemon eucalyptus can provide similar protection to a repellent with a low concertation of DEET if you prefer natural ingredients.
Prime mosquito time is dawn until dusk.
Mosquitos love standing water; it’s how they breed. Be sure to avoid standing water around your home and yard. Change out bird bath water frequently, and do not overwater plants.
When does a mosquito bite become more than just an annoyance? Mosquitos carry diseases such as West Nile virus and the newly discovered Zika virus. Zika hasn’t been reported in Louisiana, but West Nile has occurred in Louisiana and the United States. If you or your child has symptoms like a high fever, muscle weakness, vision loss, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, numbness or paralysis, see a doctor immediately or call 911. Symptoms can occur as soon as three days after a bite or as long as two weeks.
Though it is tempting, encourage your children to avoid scratching mosquito bites. Scratching leads to bleeding, and bleeding leads to infection. Itching can be relieved with a cold compress, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or a topical antihistamine.
Snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?
Summertime is prime snake season, and ventures in the woods – or even your backyard – can lead to a snake sighting. Be sure to watch overhead and at your feet, especially while hiking through heavily wooded areas. According to the State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, most of Louisiana’s snakes are harmless and are a vital part of the ecosystem.
The most common poisonous snakes in Louisiana are rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads. However, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says that five to six feet is a safe distance from poisonous snakes, and they cannot crawl faster than five miles per hour. Snakes do not seek out humans for attack.
If you or your child is bitten by a snake, the good news is snake bites are rarely fatal. It’s most important to remain calm and seek immediate medical attention. Keep the bitten area immobilized, and do not apply ice packs or attempt to cut out the venom.
Cuts, scrapes and boo-boos Cuts and scrapes are generally not a concern, but it’s important to treat these wounds correctly for healing.
Wash hands, and stop the bleeding.
Bleeding can be stopped by applying pressure, usually with a clean cloth. After the bleeding stops, rinse and clean the wound. Be sure to remove any dirt, rocks or gravel from the wound. Leaving any foreign bodies behind increases the chance of infection. Apply an antibiotic, such as Neosporin. Last, apply a dressing, such as a bandage.
If bleeding will not stop or if the cut appears to be deep, go to the emergency room, or call 911 if the injury is serious. Deep cuts usually require stitches to heal.
A visit to the doctor may be required if the wound becomes infected. Monitor the wound for redness, warmth, drainage or increased pain.
Parents can consider a trip to the doctor for a facial cut or scrape to help prevent scarring. Plastic surgeons, ear, nose and throat surgeons, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained in treating facial wounds and preventing scarring.
Make sure your child is up-to-date on Tetanus shots; if the cut is caused by a rusty object, and your child is not up-to-date, he or she will need a Tetanus shot.
WHEN TO GO TO THE ER
• Bleeding will not stop, even after pressure is applied.
• Injury occurs on a rusty object, and the child hasn’t had a Tetanus shot in five years.
• Goose egg (swollen, soft spot) appears following a head injury.
• Anaphylaxis, an intense, allergic reaction, occurs. This usually leads to difficulty breathing.