Protect your family’s skin from challenges of summer

by Dr. Khalyne Johnson
for The Review

Have fun, but protect your family this summer

Summer is finally here! While enjoying outdoor activities this summer it’s important to protect our skin and know how to treat skin irritations and insect bites.

Sun safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these recommendations to protect your family from sunburn.

• Keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight.

• Dress in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, such as lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats.

• Wear a hat with an allaround wide brim to shield the face, ears and back of the neck.

• Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.

• Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection.

• Always use sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply on any areas on your ears and neck that your hat doesn’t cover. Use SPF lip balm, too.

Buzz off

It’s important to use insect repellents safely and correctly. Insect repellents can help prevent bites from biting insects, but not from stinging insects.

Biting insects include mos- quitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers and biting flies. Stinging insects include bees, hornets and wasps.

Current AAP and CDC recommendations are to use repellents with 10% to 30% DEET on anyone older than two months of age. As an alternative to DEET, repellants with picaridin are available in concentrations of 5% to10% and may be as effective as DEET.

Don’t get ticked!

If your kids play in the woods, tall grass or brush, dress them in long-sleeved shirts and tuck their pants into their socks. Also use an insect repellent. Check for ticks nightly at bath time.

To remove a tick, lightly grip it with tweezers near its head or mouth, close to the skin. Then pull it off gently without crushing it — do not twist the body. Clean the area and apply an antiseptic.

If someone suffers a bee sting, gently push out the stinger using a blunt-edged object such as a credit card. You can also remove the stinger with your fingernail, but be careful not to squeeze venom back into the skin.

Clean the wound with soap and water, then apply a cool compress. Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can help relieve the pain. If the person is wheezing or having trouble breathing — get to an emergency room immediately.

Poison Ivy

Wash exposed areas with soap and water within five to 10 minutes of contact to help prevent a breakout. Apply calamine lotion to ease itching. If the rash starts oozing or the skin is swelling, seek medical help.

The AAP recommends having a first-aid kit handy — including Band-Aids, gauze, tape, antibiotic ointment and anti-itch or steroid ointment.

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can be used to treat insect bites, hives and other allergic reactions. If you have young children, be sure to keep a bottle of liquid Children’s Benadryl or the generic equivalent on hand.

In addition to following the above recommendations, remember to stay hydrated — drink plenty of water or sports drinks while enjoying the great outdoors this summer.

Dr. Khalyne Johnson, MD is a family medicine provider at Aurora Sheboygan Clinic, 1813 Ashland Ave. Her office can be reached at 920-458-4010.

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