What’s Going Around: severe sunburn, poison and ‘summer injuries’

Medical experts at Summit Health urgent cares and walk-in clinics in Franklin and Cumberland counties report an increase in patients worried about sun poisoning from their extreme sunburns.

They offered the following advice to anyone who may have received too much sun exposure:

“Providers advise everyone to limit their exposure to the sun, use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, and wear protective clothing while outdoors.

If you or your little one have extreme sunburn, take a cool shower or bath and apply cool compresses to the area. Aloe gels and moisturizers can be used for relief, and ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain.

Summit Health providers advise seeking medical attention if the sunburn blisters or if you experience facial swelling; fever and chills; headaches; or upset stomach since these can be signs of dehydration.”

Lancaster General Health’s Roseville Pediatrics saw a decent number of fevers and viral illnesses this week. They also saw more “summer injuries,” such as abrasions, lacerations, dislocations and broken bones.

Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice on how to protect your child when they’re playing outside:

“While we always encourage kids to be active and play outside, it’s important to remember that protection must be worn whenever wheels are involved. Bikes, scooters, roller blades, skateboards, hover boards and other wheeled outdoor equipment all warrant helmets, at the very least. Additional protection of joints with wrist guards and elbow/knee pads is also a good idea.

It’s crucial that helmets fit snugly on the head, without laxity in the chin strap. It’s also important to know how a helmet works. It’s designed to absorb the power of an impact by diffusing the energy of that impact through its constructed foam and structure. This process can only occur once, so if a helmet is involved in an impact between a child’s head and a hard surface, it needs to be REPLACED. It will no longer be able to absorb the force of an impact in future accidents and therefore will not protect the brain.

A lesser-discussed issue with summer bike riding is the danger of flip-flops. We have recently seen toe and toenail severe abrasions due to riding a bike in flip-flops or bare feet. Closed-toed, snug shoes are safest when riding a bike or scooter.”

WellSpan Medical Group providers are still seeing grass allergies. Additionally, with more people taking to the outdoors, they want to remind people about poison plants such as ivy, oak and sumac, which in some cases can be serious.

It is recommended that those who may have come into contact with a poisonous plant to immediately wash the skin with warm soapy water. To control itching, use cool moist compresses and consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone creams to cover the rash. Also, individuals are urged to leave the blisters alone and not to scratch or open them. Opening the blisters can increase the risk of infection. For prevention, wearing long sleeves when outdoors and learning which plants are poisonous can help.

WellSpan providers are also reminding parents of the recent changes to Pennsylvania’s state immunization requirements for school-age children, which go into effect this summer. All school-age children must now have all their vaccinations completed within the first five days of school. Parents are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their child’s primary care provider as soon as possible to get them vaccinated before the start of the school year.

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