As the temperature rises, it's only natural -- and healthy! -- that your children will want to be more active outside. Unfortunately, spring and summer bring certain health concerns that tend to become extra prominent during these warmer months.
Children's skin rashes and other dermatological issues often flare up with the heat, and you may be faced with the challenge of healing your kids' ailments. While there are many factors that can cause skin rashes (and not all of them are heat-related, such as infections like mononucleosis), let's look at some of the more common skin irritants your children might be exposed to while enjoying the warm weather.
One of the most common causes of children's skin rashes is poison ivy. This vine, as well as related plants like poison oak and sumac, can crawl along the ground or climb upright surfaces. The leaves produce an oil called urushiol that easily transfers to your child's skin, clothes, and toys. Within a few hours of exposure, your child may develop an itchy rash in the exposed area.
For the most part, poison ivy rashes will go away on their own. But in the meantime, you'll want to treat the itch and keep your child comfortable. Calamine lotion, oatmeal, corticosteroid creams, and cold compresses all help to reduce the discomfort. It's possible, though, that the itching could become so bothersome that your child has difficulty sleeping. In this case, diphenhydramine liquid can help your child rest despite the rash -- to help them feel safe and comforted, stay by their bedside until they nod off.
If your child is stung by a bee, you first need to assess the severity of the situation. Do they have any known allergies to bee stings? Are they having difficulty breathing or experiencing nausea? If so, keep your child calm, and call 911 immediately.
Even if your child is not severely allergic, the area can become swollen and itchy. Begin by removing the stinger with a credit card or other straight edge -- using tweezers could actually release more venom, the United States Department of Agriculture notes. Next, elevate the affected area, and apply ice to reduce any swelling. You can also purchase an over-the-counter antihistamine to mitigate the itching, or combine baking soda and water into a paste that will help alleviate the symptoms. Calamine lotion may also be effective.
These techniques can prove especially soothing because they involve close, physical contact -- and since a bee sting can be a frightening experience, it's important to help your child feel secure as you care for them.
Unlike most forms of skin rash, sunburn can be prevented with relative ease. Make sure to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to your child's skin before sending them out to enjoy the day.
If sunburn does occur, however, get your child out of the sun and into a cool -- but not cold -- bath or shower. Over the next few days, keep them properly hydrated so that their skin can adequately heal without causing dehydration. To comfort your child and reduce their discomfort, apply moisturizing creams and aloe vera gel to the burn. Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen will also help. If the sunburn is large, forms blisters or causes headaches, confusion, and signs of dehydration, seek emergency medical attention.
Knowing how to address these common skin issues, you can feel a little more at ease letting your kids take full advantage of those bright spring and summer days.