Treatment for Top Summer Dangers

Content brought to you by Henry Ford Health System

Have a good time. But remember, there is danger in the summer moon above …" So goes an old song about young love. Aside from the risk of heartbreak from a summer romance, other dangers lurk during warmer weather.

Jacqueline Moore, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician with an office at Henry Ford Medical Center–Southfield, says that some of the more common summer dangers include allergic reactions to insect bites, sunburn, heat stroke and dehydration. Here she offers some tips for summertime safety.

Allergy reactions to insect bites

Dr. Moore says it's important to know the difference between a normal reaction to an insect bite and an allergic reaction.

"A local reaction about the size of a quarter is common," Dr. Moore says.

Most people develop pain, redness and swelling at the site of an insect sting. A serious allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, occurs when the immune system gets involved, causing symptoms in more than one part of the body, such as swelling of the face, throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea or itchiness and hives over large areas of the body.

"You need an EpiPen for those cases," Dr. Moore adds. However, EpiPens, which are injections of the drug epinephrine, need to be prescribed by a physician only after a diagnosis is made. 

"You need to confirm the allergy," she says. "If you think someone might be allergic, check with your physician if there are any concerns."

Sunburns and melanoma risk

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, having one sunburn with blisters as a child or teen more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life. Having five or more sunburns at any age also doubles the risk for melanoma.

Dr. Moore explains, "Think of your skin as a garment that must last an entire lifetime. Over 80 years, the damage adds up."

Dr. Moore advises patients to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.

"You can still get sunburned on a cloudy day," she cautions.

Keep newborns out of the sun entirely. Sunscreens should not be used on babies under the age of 6 months.

Severe dehydration

Staying well hydrated by taking in plenty of fluids during warm weather is important.

"Most people don't drink enough fluids," Dr. Moore says. Drink plenty of fluids each day. Drink more when the weather is hot or you are exercising. Dr. Moore says being dehydrated compounds heat related injuries, and occurs quickly in children after prolonged bouts of vomiting or diarrhea. Restoring fluids lost by sweating or exercising in hot weather is vital. "Replace fluids with water or a sport drink," Dr. Moore advises.

Dr. Moore says severe cases of dehydration should be seen by a health provider. Symptoms of severe dehydration include: not urinating or passing small amounts of very dark yellow urine; dry, shriveled skin; irritability or confusion; dizziness; rapid heartbeat; rapid breathing and sunken eyes.

To schedule a well-child visit or to make an appointment with Dr. Jacqueline Moore or another Henry Ford doctor, call 800-HENRYFORD (800-436-7936) or log onto henryford.com.

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