Spring and summer bring the delightful return of playing outside and soaking up all that fresh air. But it also means the return of bumps, bees, bruises and bugs. Here’s how to heal and treat all those common outdoor ailments that will surely cross your house this season.
The one thing that goes hand-in-hand with warmer weather is the return of bumble bees. Stings generally cause redness, itching, stinging and minor swelling. As long as you experience a non-severe reaction, Claire Goodall, author of EveryDay Roots, suggests some easy homemade remedies to lessen the pain. If possible, make sure to remove the stinger first. Then Goodall recommends using a drop of lavender essential oil directly on the sting twice a day for the first day and once the next. Another option is making a baking soda paste of just water and baking soda that will relieve swelling and soothe itching. If you don’t have access to either of those, Goodall says even good old mud mixed with a little water and put directly on the sting will ease that initial pain.
A long day of fun in the sun can often result in bright red skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s important to begin treating a sunburn as soon as you notice it. To help relieve the pain, they suggest taking a cool shower and leaving a little water on your skin and applying a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin. Make sure to drink extra water because a sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body, which can cause dehydration. Taking an aspirin or ibuprofen will help reduce any redness, swelling or discomfort. The AAD also encourages you to take extra caution to protect sunburned skin to allow it to heal and prevent blistering.
Staying out late and playing at dusk often results in being attacked by mosquitoes, and once you start itching those bites it’s hard to stop! While insect bites don’t often result in severe reactions, with the exception of those carrying the West Nile virus, bites are bothersome but can be easily treated. According to the Mayo Clinic, immediately wash the bitten areas with soap and water. You can use a cool compress to reduce any immediate pain or swelling. To ease the pain, use products that contain hydrocortisone and to soothe itchy skin, use creams such as calamine lotion or those containing colloidal oatmeal or baking soda. In most cases, the bite should disappear in a day or two, but if not, check with your doctor.
If you are spending your time in pools or lakes, make sure you know the symptoms for swimmer’s ear. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, acute otitis extrena, commonly known as swimmer’s ear, often occurs when water gets trapped in your ear canal and bacteria multiplies causing infection. The signs and symptoms are itching inside the ear, a pain that gets worse when you touch your outer ear, a fever and feeling that your ear is full or blocked. Don’t disregard the pain as an earache because it needs to be treated with eardrops to inhibit bacterial or fungal growth, reduce the inflammation and eliminate any effect it could have on your hearing.
While adults may be good about remembering to drink water, it’s not always on the top of kids’ priority lists as they run around playing in the summer heat. To prevent dehydration in warm weather, drinking cool water is the best bet. But if children experience dehydration, the only effective treatment is to replace lost fluids and lost electrolytes. Mayo Clinic suggests an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or Hydralyte for infants or children because they contain water and salts to quickly replenish both fluids and electrolytes. For older children, try diluted sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade.