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Summer First Aid Tips

Summertime means swimming, outdoor activities, grilling and more. It also means heat, humidity, mosquitos and intense sun. While it’s a fun time of year, it also means you need to keep a close eye on your health. Just like how injuries in the summer can be different from injuries in the winter, first aid in the summer can vary, too. Do you know what to do if a minor injury or illness occurs?

With these summer first aid tips, you’ll be all set to spring into action.

Sprains, strains and muscle injuries

These summertime injuries can happen during physical activity, and may include the stretching or tearing of ligaments. They can range from mild to severe. If you suffer a sprain or strain, rest, ice and elevate the injured area. Do not use the injured area if it causes pain. Seek medical attention at a nearby urgent care center.

Food poisoning

This occurs when you eat something that has been contaminated with bacteria. Foods can become contaminated with improper cooking or if they’re left in unsuitable temperatures for extended periods of time. First aid for food poisoning should consist of rest, as well as drinking clear fluids. Visit urgent care if you have signs of shock, dehydration or confusion.

Rashes from poison ivy, oak or sumac

Coming into contact with poisonous plants like poison ivy, oak or sumac can cause an allergic skin reaction. The resin in the leaves can transfer from the leaves to the skin, clothing or shoes, and a painful rash can appear within hours or up to two days after exposure. If you come into contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water immediately after contact. Treat the itching with colloid oatmeal baths, baking soda and water paste, calamine lotion, topical hydrocortisone cream or oral antihistamines. Visit an urgent care center if the rash doesn’t go away or if it appears on the face or genitals.

Marine bites & stings

Although rare, some people get bit or stung by marine animals such as eels, stingrays or jellyfish in the summertime. Treat bite injuries the same as a bleeding wound, in which you need to stop the bleeding and seek medical attention. Sometimes stings can cause an allergic reaction, so visit urgent care immediately if you have swelling, signs of shock, muscle paralysis or trouble breathing.

Heat-related health issues

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common during the hot summers. Often they’re caused by activity in a hot environment and are most common in the lower legs or abdominal muscles. If this occurs, stop the activity and sit in a cool place (like air conditioning or shade). Drink fluids and avoid strenuous activity for a few hours. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency, so seek medical attention immediately.

Bee stings

Make sure the stinger is removed from the wound. Clean the wound with soap and water, apply a cool compress such as a washcloth, and then apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to soothe the pain. Sometimes stings can cause a serious allergic reaction, so visit urgent care immediately if you have extreme swelling, signs of shock, muscle paralysis or trouble breathing.

Swimmer’s ear

You’ll know if your child has swimmer’s ear if their ear is red and itchy, and if the pain gets worse when you gently pull on the ear. Use over-the-counter ear drops and keep your child out of the water for a few days. If the pain doesn’t go away within a few days, visit an urgent care center.

Summer first aid is crucial – especially in the hot, humid weather. A precautionary measure includes packing a first aid kit and having it on hand – you never know when you might need it.

What should be in in your summer first aid kit:

  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Latex gloves
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Neosporin
  • Calamine lotion
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Bandages of all sizes
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Instant ice packs
  • Over-the-counter painkillers
  • Saline solution
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs

If you’re ever in doubt about how to treat a summer injury or illness, visit your closest GoHealth Urgent Care. We’re here to help 7 days a week. Find your center below:


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