Now that summer is upon us again, it’s time to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. But unfortunately, there are plenty of “summer bummers” – those things that we find in nature that try to ruin our good time. Keep these in mind the next time you are outdoors and your summer can be bummer-free!
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac: Coming in contact with the sap from a poison ivy, oak or sumac plant can cause a pretty nasty rash. Symptoms start as redness and swelling at the infected site, and then progresses to a strong itching feeling. Over-the-counter medicines will help alleviate the pain and all symptoms should be gone in a week or two.
Heat Rash: Also referred to as prickly heat, is a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. According to health.msn.com, heat rash can develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell and often leads to discomfort and itching. Children are most commonly affected by heat rash resulting in small pinkish pimples on the skin. Most of the rashes heal on their own, but to alleviate the symptoms take a cool bath, air dry and avoid using lotions on the affected area.
Mosquito Bites: Mosquitoes may be one of the most annoying bugs around. The blood-suckers bite and can leave some major itching in its aftermath. To protect yourself against these annoying little bugs, wear bug spray when you are outdoors for an extended period of time, use screens in your windows and doors, and don’t let water sit stagnant in your yard, as this becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
Flip Flops: Despite being fashionable, flip-flops do very little for you in the way of summertime protection. Flip-flops can lead to stubbed toes, cuts, abrasions, having a large object dropped on your foot, and insect or snake bites. If you plan on being outdoors a lot this summer, you should maybe opt for a closed toe shoe instead of your flip-flops. (Not to mention there is NO arch support in your fashionable flip-flops!)
Bee Stings: While most reactions to bee stings are mild, there are a number of people who are severely allergic to bee stings. For those who develop a swollen tongue, feel like their throat is tightening up or are having breathing problems, they need to get to the ER immediately. Mild reactions include swelling, redness, and itchiness, while severe reactions can result in death. According to MSNBC.com, if you don’t have a severe reaction, apply ice or cold running water directly to the sting. Remove the stinger if it’s still in the skin by brushing the skin with a credit card or using tweezers. To take the pain away, apply hydrocortisone cream or a paste made of baking soda and water.
Fireworks Burns: Burns due to handling fireworks is one of the number one reasons why people end up in the emergency room during the summertime. Most injuries involve the hands, arms, eyes and ears, with most of these injuries being burns. Minor burns can be treated at home by running cool water over the burn and then put a cool, dry cloth on them. More severe burns will need to be treated by a doctor.
Sunburn: Prolonged exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays can cause pain and redness on the skin commonly known as sunburn. Sunburn can happen within hours of sun exposure and can last for weeks depending on the grade of the burn. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, aloe or moisturizing creams can all alleviate the pain and stinging associated with sunburn. Burns that are expressed through blisters need to be treated by a medical professional.