Hot Topics: Addressing Warm Weather Worries
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Summer safety means more for many moms than shielding their kids from the sun. In fact, playing outdoors may send many into a “panic” about a variety of warm-weather worries. But, just how much do you really have to worry about? The experts sound off.
· West Nile Worries: While we all know to take precautions to protect against mosquito and other insect bites, not all bug bites are life-threatening. In fact experts suggest that it’s not necessarily a huge threat to kids and in fact those that “do” get it experience few if any symptoms, including minor aches, pains and fever that are gone in a matter of days. Plus, kids don’t typically experience serious complications such as encephalitis (a potentially dangerous inflammation of the brain.)
Keep kids safer by discarding of stale, standing water, such as that in a kiddie pool, or empty flower pots, that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos, and don’t forget the “protective clothing” such as long-sleeved tops and pants; as well as the insect repellent, preferably one containing DEET. Last, but not least consider bringing and keeping your kids inside at dusk when bugs come out to prey.
· ,b>Water Worries: Many moms worry about children contracting impetigo, a bacterial skin infection that mean itchy blisters, scarbs, or sores for their kids and which can be easily spread via direct contact with someone else or by sharing infected towels or clothes.
According to experts, kids are more prone to this “condition” in the summer because playing outside means more cuts and wounds that the bacteria can get into. And, once exposed you child may take a few days to develop any symptoms. If confined to a small area your child’s doctor may suggest a topical over-the-counter antibiotic or if it’s more “serious” oral antibiotics may be necessary. They add that due to some recent antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it’s very important to follow and monitor your child’s progress and follow up with your doctor, especially if the condition doesn’t seem to be going away.
· The Hazards Of Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease: According to experts the little bumps and blisters on children’s hands, feet and mouth look more serious and severe than they actually are. In addition there’s no threat that they will spread or cause scaring. In fact, they usually tend to go away on their own once the virus has run its course, typically in about 5 or so days. Still, they are VERY contagious, which is why they tend to be “rampant” at camps.
Children who contract the virus show signs of fever and a bad sore throat, needing lots of rest and medication for fever and pain relief. Experts suggest encourageing children with hand, foot, and mouth disease to eat lots of ice pops and drink whatever they can (as long as it’s nutritious and healthy), and that included some watered-down juice and milk shakes, to prevent dehydration. But, they add be sure to follow up (as often as you have to) with your pediatrician.
· Burger Blunders and Food Poisoning: With bbqs being a summertime “biggie” many moms (and dads) worry about their child or children experiencing food poisoning from undercooked meats, thanks to good old E. coli. And, while it’s not always or necessarily an issue, it IS when it comes to burger meats and some produce. This, primarily because bacteria can spread from animal products to fruits and veggies via infected water and soil, and then it can always be “cross-contaminated” in the kitchen. And, according to experts, these bugs tend to be stubborn sticking around and summer is the “worst” time of year for bacteria with people bringing food and drinks into parks and beaches where it doesn’t stay cool for too long, allowing the bacteria to grow and thrive.
The best “plan of attack”….impeccable hygiene habits, especially when preparing food.
· Thoroughly wash and scrub your hands with warm water and plenty of soap before touching any foot and wash again each time you switch from meats to fish to veggies to fruits.
· Wash foods properly and well, especially fruits and produce. Experts even suggest rinsing off poultry, meats, and fish, as well as the outer shell of melons before cooking or slicing them.
· Invest in separate cutting boards, one for meats and poultry, one for fish, one for veggies, fruits and cheeses, and one for breads and cakes. Or rise the one or two you have thoroughly before moving on to the next food group.
· Make sure perishable foods are properly refrigerated until they are going to be eaten
Food-borne illnesses usually translate into diarrhea, cramping and possibly nausea and vomiting, sometimes along with fever for a few days. Keep children hydrated during this time and look for beverages that offer electrolytes or for clear sodas or white grape juice. Persistent symptoms or sunken eyes, dry mouth, and/or bloody diarrheas warrant calling your doctor immediately.
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Hot Topics: Addressing Warm Weather Worries