Swimmer's Ear to Insect Stings: How to Protect Your Kids From Common Summer Health Hazards

Now that both school and the sun are out, your kids are probably wanting to go outside and maximize their summer break. You might even encourage this by sending them to summer or sports camps.

As more kids go out to enjoy their school-free days, emergency rooms and departments around the nation see a rise in unintended visits for injuries and illnesses. While we aren’t encouraging you to become “helicopter parents” for the season, we want to share some precautions you can take to help your kids avoid the most common reasons why children visit the ER.

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal commonly caused by bacteria. It can also be brought on by viruses or fungi. Symptoms include:

Common reasons why kids get swimmer’s ear include putting foreign objects in their ear and getting moisture trapped in their ear. In general, children are more prone to ear infections because their ear canals are narrower.

Reduce the incidences of swimmer’s ear by maintaining good ear hygiene and ensuring that water doesn’t get trapped after a swim. Having your child tilt their head to each side to drain their ears or dry the outside of their ears with a clean, dry towel. 

Drowning, dry drowning, or secondary drowning

Going for a swim is one of the best ways to deal with Texas’ summer heat. However, swim-related injuries and deaths also increase during the summer. Drowning isn’t as dramatic as it appears on TV, and it’s easy to overlook the signs of this common summer hazard when the distressed swimmer can’t call for help.

These signs include:

Teaching your kids pool etiquette, knowing the signs of a swimmer in distress, and ensuring children only swim under the supervision of a lifeguard greatly reduces drowning risk.

Dry drowning and secondary drowning are distinctly different, but both can cause death after getting out of the water.

Dry drowning occurs when your child inhales water through their nose or mouth, causing a reflexive spasming of the airway. While this reflex prevents water from entering the lungs, it can also inhibit normal breathing.

Secondary (or delayed) drowning occurs when water enters the lungs, causing inflammation. This inflammation of the lungs can last hours or even days after the initial contact with water, and it prevents oxygen from entering the blood.

Symptoms of these types of drowning include difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, choking, lethargy or sleepiness, irritability, and vomiting.

Strains, sprains, and broken bones

As you already know, there are countless ways your child can injure themselves. While the possibilities are endless, you can take steps to keep your child safe during some of their favorite activities. Make sure they:

Animal bites and insect stings

The great outdoors is home to hundreds of creatures that can bite, scratch, and sting. To keep your child safe, teach them how to appreciate wildlife without risking a dangerous encounter. Some animals that call Texas home include:

The entire state of Texas lives within the natural ranges of many biting and stinging insects. Applying insect repellent with DEET can prevent dangerous insects from taking a bite out of your child.

Even domestic animals can injure your child. The simple act of staying away from unfamiliar dogs and cats helps while out and about in summertime can keep your kids safe.

Does your child need to see a doctor now?

In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. If it isn’t a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention, take your child to a facility that has pediatric experience and knowledge.

The Trusted ER medical centers provide full-service, 24-hour emergency services. Our facilities have the latest medical equipment that can help diagnose and treat your child’s urgent medical matters, including injuries, acute illnesses, and respiratory conditions. Call the location closest to you or just walk in to see an emergency physician today.

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