Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like family picnics, playing in the park and swimming. However, families need to be mindful of the potential dangers that come along with hot, humid temperatures: illnesses related to mosquitoes, ticks, heat and swimming.
“It’s important to take precautions during the summer, especially when it comes to young children who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and injuries,” said Linda Craig, director of Clinic Services at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
Here are some tips to have a safe and healthy summer.
Mosquitoes can cause bites that are not only itchy and annoying, but can potentially spread disease, like the Zika virus and West Nile virus.
To protect your family from mosquito bites:
Tick season peaks at the height of summer’s heat. In Kansas, ticks are prone to carry four diseases: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia.
Ticks lurk in tall grasses and bushy areas and then climb aboard humans as they walk by. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander looking for an area where the skin is thinner. They must be attached for more than 24 hours before they can transmit infection; therefore, finding and removing all ticks in a timely manner is critical to preventing disease.
To help protect against ticks:
If you find a tick on your body, jot down the date it was discovered. If symptoms such as a rash, fever, headache, joint or muscle pains or swollen lymph nodes appear, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms treatable at home with antibiotics to severe infections requiring hospitalization.
Heat-related illness happens when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded.
Children, the elderly and people with chronic conditions are usually the first to suffer from heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion, cramps or, in extreme cases, heat stroke can result from prolonged exposure to hot temperatures.
To prevent heat-related illness:
Just a few serious sunburns can increase you and your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they’re outdoors.
To prevent sunburns:
Recreational water illnesses are caused by germs spread by swallowing or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, interactive fountains, lakes or rivers.
Contrary to popular belief, chlorine and other disinfectants do not kill germs instantly. While most germs are killed within minutes, Cryptosporidium can live for days. Before they are killed, these germs can cause illnesses, such as gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported recreational water illness is diarrhea caused by germs such as cryptosporidium, giardia, shigella, norovirus and E. coli.
Swallowing just a mouthful of water that contains these germs can make you sick.
Here are a few simple and effective steps all swimmers can take:
Every day, 10 people die from drowning, and of those, two are children ages 14 and younger. Of drowning victims who survive and are treated in emergency rooms, more than half are hospitalized or transferred for further care. These individuals often experience brain damage, which can cause memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent loss of basic functioning.
To prevent drowning: