The arrival of spring is always an exciting time of year. However, with longer days and warmer weather comes threats to the health of your kids. The transitioning of seasons can be the reason behind several illnesses. It’s important to know what to look for when diagnosing, but even better to know how to prevent problems before you send your kids back outside in their shorts and bathing suits.
Use Sunscreen to Protect Kids From Sun Damage
By the age of 18, most kids will soak up anywhere from 50 - 80 percent of the recommended amount of lifetime sun exposure. Even on the cloudiest of days it’s important to keep your children protected from UVA and UVB rays. Applying sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to your kids 15 - 30 minutes prior to sending them outside can protect them not only from sunburn, but from the risk of developing skin cancer due to cumulative skin damage.
When you know your kids will be outdoors for an extended period of time, make sure you reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes. Most sporting events take place during the hottest time of the day, so if you have kids that play summer sports, this is especially important.
Make Sure Your Kids Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration is important all year round, but it can be more difficult to say hydrated during the spring and summer months. Kids are involved in sports or outdoor activities, which means they will require more water throughout the day to keep them going.
According to parents.com, the proper amount of water that should be consumed is determined by several factors, including your child’s size and age, their activity level, and what the outside temperatures are. Although sports drinks advertise their ability to help replenish electrolytes, many contain high amounts of sugar. Bananas are a much healthier option for balancing out electrolytes when you child needs to recharge.
If you are concerned your child may be dehydrated, a few symptoms to be on the lookout for include headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle cramps. If your kids are hydrating properly, they should be urinating anywhere from 4 - 6 times per day, and it should be clear to pale yellow in color.
Fight Back Against Spring Allergies
Everyone wants to be outside, enjoying the warmer weather after being stuck inside all winter long, but warmer weather has a tendency to trigger springtime allergies. Children can develop allergies at any age and they can be just as severe as they are in adults. Around 40% of children suffer from allergies this time of year, and the symptoms are easy to recognize. Common signs include repetitive sneezing, runny nose, heavy breathing, itchy eyes, and sore ears and/or throat.
There are several ways to keep your children healthy during the spring allergy season. One option is to have them bathe after they have been outside for an extended period of time. Although unfortunate for children with severe allergies, it’s best to keep them inside on high pollen days, even if it’s warm and beautiful outside.
Another solution is to opt for staying cool with air conditioning, rather than opening the windows and allowing pollen and other allergens into your home. If your child is suffering from seasonal allergies, use cool compresses to alleviate physical irritations, such as stinging or itching eyes.
Treat Ticks and Insect Bites Immediately
When it’s warm enough for you to get outside, it generally means it’s warm enough for bugs and insects to crawl out and enjoy the sunshine, too. While some are harmless, bites or stings from certain insects - and their cousins - can not only be uncomfortable, but dangerous as well. The creepy critters you will want to be wary of are spiders, ticks, and bees, wasps, or yellow jackets. If your child experiences a bite or a sting from any of these bugs, you may need to take medical action.
Most species of spider are harmless, but there are a few that can significantly impact your child’s health, such as the Brown Recluse Spider, the Wolf Spider, or the Black Widow Spider. Bites from spiders like these can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, muscle cramping, fever and chills, swelling at the site of the bite, and in the most severe cases, coma, seizure, or kidney failure.
Tick bites are extremely dangerous in kids because they can carry and transmit Lyme disease, and children make up the majority of Lyme disease patients. If you start to notice a decline in your child’s motor skills or speech, their mood swings are becoming increasingly problematic, or they seem to be developing arthritis in their joints, seek medical attention immediately. Other common symptoms of Lyme disease can include rashes, fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, night sweats or trouble sleeping, and sensitivity to light.
At the End of the Day, Kids Will Be Kids
As spring and its warm weather arrive, the last thing you or your kids want to be dealing with is an illness of any kind. Taking precautionary measures and knowing what to look for in your children can give you peace of mind and allow them to have fun. For more information on how to keep your kids healthy – not only in the springtime, but all year long – keep up with your appointments and talk to your Genesis Medical doctor with any concerns you have for your family!