part II from the doc: bites, stings, water safety and heat

Not too long ago, My ABC Soup shared some great information from local family nurse practitioner at Evergreen Family Medicine and mother of two, Wendy Zyziewski. Part one featured great information on allergies, sunscreen, etc… READ HERE

Here is some more summer safety advice in hopes to prevent some summer burns, bites and bruises.

{ For great travel tips and safety from Wendy, see here }

Water Safety

What are some ways to teach our children about water safety and preventative measures that parents can take regarding children who are attracted to water?  WZ: Swim Lessons are huge! Swim lessons for infants up to adults are a great way to introduce children to the water plus they teach a lot about water safety. The AAP does not recommend mandatory swim lessons for all children age 1-4, but the decision should be made by the parent based on their developmental readiness. Even if they have had lessons, children should never be left alone in or near water. Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds in a few inches of water. Avoid inflatable swimming aids like “floaties.” These are not a substitute for approved life vests and provide a false sense of security. They can deflate quickly and the child can then be in trouble. Your child should always wear a life jacket when he swims or rides in a boat. A life jacket fits properly if you can’t lift it off over your child’s head after he’s been fastened into it. For the child under age five, particularly the non-swimmer, it also should have a flotation collar to keep the head upright and the face out of the water.

Heat Exhaustion/Dehydration

How should parents check for heat exhaustion or dehydration? WZ: Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt. Signs of this include: profuse sweating, cold pale clammy skin, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, fainting, rapid shallow breathing or a rapid, weak pulse. Most of these symptoms are caused by dehydration from sweating. Signs of dehydration are: plays less than usual; urinates less frequently (for infants, fewer than six wet diapers per day); parched, dry mouth; fewer tears when crying; sunken soft spot of the head in an infant or toddler; increasingly fussy; excessively sleepy; sunken eyes; cool, discolored hands and feet; wrinkled skin.

What are some preventative measures for this? WZ: Avoid activity in the heat of the day. Child should be well hydrated before even starting to play and should not be thirsty. Have your child take water breaks every 15-minutes in the shade. Encourage him to drink some water even if he’s not thirsty. Thirst can be delayed until a person is almost dehydrated. Have your child wear a single layer of lightweight clothing. Change it if it becomes wet with perspiration. Protect infants from heatstroke by not bundling them in blankets or excessive clothing. Children usually need the same number of layers of clothing as adults.


Here is a list of when to skip the PCP and go straight to the ER: WZ: If you have a baby under a month of age who is vomiting, not eating well or excessively sleeping; child is severely lethargic – staring off into space, too weak to cry, floppy, hard to awaken; sudden onset of confusion; child complains of severe pain and/or has inconsolable crying; sudden inability to walk; child has an extremely tender abdomen with minimal pressure; extremely  tender testicle; breathing difficulty – grunting or wheezing with each breath, retractions (where skin pulls in around the ribs); infant with bulging soft spot; any neck injury or stiff neck; purple or red spots that appear unexpectedly; fever over 100.4 in a child 3-months or younger.

How should minor injuries be cared for? WZ: Wash immediately with soap and warm water to get the dirt out. Apply polysporin or triple antibiotic ointment and cover with a Band-Aid.

What should parents look for in a possible concussion? WZ: Monitor the child closely over the next 24-hours. Watch for the child to be overly sleepy, vomiting, change in behavior, inconsolable crying and/or a headache that will not resolve or gets worse. You should try to arouse the child every few hours during the night.

Bites & Stings

What are common bug bites to look out for in Douglas County? WZ: Mosquitos, ticks, fleas, and spiders.

What should parents look at in a bite before taking the child in to the doctor? WZ: It is normal to see a small, itchy red bump or even localized hives or welts. If a child develops shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or confusion, they should be seen immediately by calling 911. If there is severe pain that does not resolve within a few hours of the bite, redness that is getting worse after 48-hours, hives, rash, or if you notice redness that is streaking away from the bite more than an inch, the child should be evaluated.

What is a good bug repellent for the whole family? WZ: You can use DEET products for all children two-months of age and older. Don’t apply to children’s hands if they suck on their thumbs or fingers to prevent ingestion.

What should parents look for in their child’s first bee sting, especially if allergies run in the family? WZ: An anaphylactic reaction will usually start within 20-minutes of the sting and always by two hours following a sting, so watch the child carefully. If the child becomes hoarse, develops a cough, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, confused or slurred speech, they should be seen immediately by calling 911.

What are basic recommendations on treating a bee sting for all ages? WZ: Remove the stinger if it is present. Then use a meat tenderizer spice/water solution to make a paste. Apply it on a cotton ball for 20-minutes to the sting. This is supposed to help neutralize the sting and decrease the pain. Massage with ice in a compress for pain. You can use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain.


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