February 21, 2020

Treating common summer health issues

Families rarely get through a summer without some sort of malady like a sprained ankle, bad sunburn or poison ivy rash.

Dealing with these summer-related health issues can be as simple as grabbing a tube of Benadryl cream, or as involved as driving to an emergency room.

Mark Kauffman, D.O., a family physician and professor of family medicine at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, discussed when you can treat these injuries or illnesses at home, and when you need to call your doctor or visit the ER.

1. Severe sunburn

As long as the skin stays intact, you can treat bad sunburns at home with aloe vera, cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, Kauffman said.

It’s when larger blisters (an inch or larger in diameter) develop, or when blisters cover an extensive area of skin, that you need to seek medical care.

“When the top pops off those blisters, the skin underneath is prone to infection,” Kauffman said. “You need antibiotic ointments, so you should see your primary care physician.”

2. Twisted ankle

The pain from an injured ankle can be intense, whether you sprained it, tore ligaments or broke it.

If the injury causes you to walk with a limp, Kauffman recommended that you see your doctor or visit an urgent-care center.

“You usually won’t get an x-ray, but you might need crutches, and those require a prescription from a physician,” Kauffman said.

3. Bug bite, poison ivy/poison oak

We’re not talking about a common mosquito bite, but something larger that causes the skin to redden and swell.

If the reaction is localized, then it can be treated at home with Benadryl to stop the itching, Kauffman said.

“Look for spreading redness and swelling after 24 hours,” Kauffman said. “That could be an infection, which is more serious, and you would need to see your doctor.”

Treat a poison ivy/poison oak rash in similar way. Use Benadryl unless the rash covers more than 10 percent of the body, or you have inhaled smoke from burning poison ivy/poison oak.

“You can’t treat inhaled poison ivy at home. You need to see your doctor,” Kauffman said.

4. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

These are two of the most serious summer-related health issues, especially heat stroke, when the body no longer is able to regulate its body temperature. It can be life-threatening.

If you are outside and start to feel fatigued, lightheaded and nauseous, get somewhere cool, Kauffman said. Drink water, and use ice packs or wet compresses to cool off.

“It’s when you stop sweating and start acting confused that heat stroke becomes a possibility,” Kauffman said. “If you see someone like this, you need to get them medical treatment right away. Call 911.”

5. Food poisoning

The chances of food poisoning increase in the summer because of all of the backyard barbecues and picnics.

Meats, cut fruits and foods made with dairy products are left in the heat too long and can be contaminated with bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illness.

“If you experience vomiting and diarrhea, and can’t keep fluids down, call your doctor if it lasts more than two or three hours,” Kauffman said. “You don’t want to get dehydrated. If it’s a child, I wouldn’t even wait that long.”

DAVID BRUCE can be reached at 870-1736 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNbruce.

Originally from:

Treating common summer health issues

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor