How to Identify & Treat Common Summer Injuries & Illnesses in Montgomery County, Maryland
Summer is well underway here in Maryland and school’s out for the next few months, which means that children are outside playing in the sunshine and enjoying their time off. As much fun as they are having, it’s important to make sure that children are being careful when they play outdoors—but that’s easier said than done, right?
We’ve rounded up a few of the most common summer injuries that children experience here in Montgomery County so that you’ll be prepared with a treatment plan should they occur this summer.
How to Treat a Bee Sting
For some people, a bee sting is a quick (though painful) experience, leaving a small, sore area where you were stung. For those who are allergic to bees, though, the experience can be terrifying and life-threatening!
We’ve all heard the story: when a bee stings you, it loses its stinger and dies. But where does its stinger go? As a matter of fact, the stinger is left behind in your skin. The stinger leaves its venom in your skin, which causes the pain and swelling that comes with a bee sting.
However, for children who are allergic to bees, this venom can cause a serious, potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis.
How to Know if Your Child Is Allergic to Bees
Unfortunately, there’s often no way to know that your child is allergic to bees until after they’ve been stung by one. If your child is stung by a bee, the following symptoms can indicate that they are allergic to bees and require immediate medical attention:
- Hives or flushed skin
- Swollen face, tongue, or lips
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Fainting or dizziness
- Loss of consciousness
Treating a Bee Sting if Your Child Is Allergic
If you already know that your child is allergic to bees, then treatment is quick and simple. All you need is a shot of epinephrine, often known as a shot from an EpiPen, which will relieve the symptoms almost immediately.
Additionally, if you notice a large rash or swelling around the area of the bee sting, or if the pain and swelling last several days, your child may have a lower strength allergy to bees. In this case, they still require medical attention.
Treating a Bee Sting if Your Child Is Not Allergic
Even if your child is not allergic to bees, chances are they will still experience pain and swelling after being stung. When dealing with a bee sting, it’s important to remove the stinger as soon as you’re able, so that the venom has less time to spread. Usually you’ll see it sticking up out of your child’s skin, where you can remove it with tweezers, scrape it away with a flat surface like a credit card, or pull it out with your fingers.
Once you’ve removed the stinger, wash the area with soap and water, then apply a cool compress or an ice pack to relieve the swelling. If your child is still in pain, you can give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If the bee manages to sing inside of your child’s mouth, it’s important to seek medical attention right away, since the mucus membranes in the mouth can swell to the point of blocking your child’s airways, making it difficult or even impossible to breathe.
Avoiding Bee Stings
To prevent your children from being stung by bees, the biggest thing that you can do is avoid areas where bees tend to congregate, like trees with fallen fruit or near your garbage. Avoid giving your children sweets like popsicles to eat outside, since the sugary scent can attract bees.
Another important way to avoid being stung by a bee is to teach your children not to swat at bees or other bugs that may fly around near them. Some bees will sting when they feel threatened, like when they are swatted at.
If you know that your child is allergic to bees, make sure they keep an EpiPen on hand whenever they’re playing outdoors, and especially if they go away to summer camp. Better safe than sorry!
If you have questions about bee stings or bee allergies, you can call Fast Track Urgent Care at 800-417-1164 or contact us online.
How to Identify & Treat Poison Ivy Symptoms
The rash that children (and the rest of us!) get from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is caused urushiol (yoo-roo-she-all) oil in plants, but that doesn’t mean you can only get it from the plants themselves! Any object with the oil on it, including clothing or toys, can transfer oil to your child’s skin. Since around 85% of people are allergic to urushiol, it’s pretty likely that once your child comes into contact with something that has the oil on it, they’re going to have an allergic reaction.
The poison ivy rash isn’t contagious, and it doesn’t spread. It takes several days to develop fully, so a few people believe that scratching the rash can make it spread, which isn’t the case.
Identifying Poison Ivy Symptoms
If you think your child may have a poison ivy rash, look for the following symptoms:
- A burning sensation accompanied by inflammation
- Red streaks or patches
- An itchy rash
- Blisters that can expel fluid or crust over
Treating Poison Ivy Symptoms
The poison ivy rash typically clears up in around two weeks. During this time, the most important thing to do (and the hardest) is to keep from scratching the rash. Bacteria from your child’s fingernails can infect the blisters, making the whole painful ordeal last longer than necessary!
In the meantime, a few ways to get relief from the rash include:
- Applying a cool compress
- Applying an over-the-counter corticosteroid ointment
- Taking prescription oral corticosteroids
- Using over-the-counter skin protectants, like calamine lotion zinc acetate, zinc carbonate, or zinc oxide to dry the blisters
- Applying a baking soda and water mixture or a colloidal oatmeal to relieve the itching
Sometimes, an average poison plant rash can become more serious. Visit an urgent care clinic if your child experiences:
- A fever after being exposed to the plant
- A rash on their eyes, lips, face, or genital area
- A rash that covers more than a fourth of their body
- Severe blistering and swelling
- Difficulty breathing
Avoiding Contact with Poison Ivy & Other Poisonous Plants
The best way to avoid a skin reaction to poison ivy is to stay away from it! You can help your children avoid poison ivy and other poisonous plants by following these tips.
- Know what poison ivy and other poisonous plants look like and where they’re likely to live
- If your children have to be near poison ivy, have them wear long sleeved shirts and pants tucked into boots to avoid exposure
- If you suspect that your child has come into contact with a poisonous plant, wash their skin as soon as possible to help prevent or lessen the spread of the rash
- Apply a topical product like “IvyX” to your child’s skin before going out to an area where there may be poisonous plants
If you have questions about poison ivy or other poisonous plants, you can call Fast Track Urgent Care at 800-417-1164 or contact us online.
How to Treat Heatstroke Symptoms
Heatstroke is the most dangerous form of heat injury, and it happens when children spend too long in extreme heat or overexert themselves physically while out in the sun. Heatstroke is extremely serious and requires immediate medical treatment.
Identifying Heatstroke Symptoms
The most prominent symptom of heatstroke is a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher. Other heatstroke symptoms include:
- Erratic behavior or uneven mental state
- Flushed skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heartrate
- Rapid breathing
- Sweating excessively OR hot, dry skin
Treating Heatstroke Symptoms
Heatstroke can cause swelling in vital organs (including the brain), which can cause damage. For this reason, immediate treatment is critical.
If you suspect that your child is experiencing heatstroke, get medical help immediately. Call 911 or get the child to an urgent care clinic right away—simply getting out of the heat or drinking water is not enough.
Ways to Prevent Heatstroke
Heatstroke, though a serious condition, is totally preventable. The following precautions will keep your child cool and healthy this summer:
- Staying hydrated
- Wearing loose-fitting, protective clothing
- Applying sunscreen
- Acclimating to hot weather slowly if visiting/recently moved to a hotter region
- Staying indoors at the hottest times of the day
- Never staying in a hot car
Visit Fast Track Urgent Care for Summer Injuries & Illnesses
If you find yourself in need of immediate health care for yourself or your child this summer, visit one of Fast Track’s Montgomery County urgent care clinics.
You can visit Fast Track for bee stings, poison ivy rashes, heatstroke symptoms, or any of the following:
- Seasonal allergy treatment
- Swimmer’s ear treatment
- Relief for bug bites and rashes
- Sunburn remedies
- Care for sprains and other minor injuries
Call us at 800-417-1164 or contact us online for more information regarding summer injuries or illnesses, or learn more about our location and hours here.