Staying healthy and injury-free in summer

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Sam George is the executive director of Parivar International, a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America.  Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation” (www.CoconutGeneration.com). He can be reached at sam@coconutgeneration.com 

By Sam George
As you have decided to make your summer count with your kids and enrich your family interactions (as shared last week), it is appropriate to raise some concern and list precautions we must take to stay healthy and injury-free through your kid’s summer activities.

It is commonly observed that kids get into trouble of some sort. We can never completely avoid that, and it is part of growing up. But some safeguards are worthwhile and it helps to know what to do when they get into trouble. The troubles I am talking about are common physical ones, like bug bites, sunburn or bruises. Here is a list of prevention and treatments ideas that every parent should know.

Sunburn
Prevent –  Always slather your kids with at least SPF 30 before they run out of the door so it has time to sink in, and reapply every two hours or so. If you can, have the whole family stay in the shade from 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m., when the sun is the strongest, or, at least throw a shirt over your kids’ bathing suits during these hours. Are your kids not too keen on slathering up?  Make it a dance each time they have to apply, or give them a clean paint brush and let them paint themselves.

Treat — If sunburn should occur, apply cool cloths and aloe Vera gel over the affected area. Rest and keep out of the sun.

Bug bites and stings
Prevent – There are now several products that combine sunscreen with bug repellent. If you’re eating outside, light a citronella candle. Hikes through the woods may require long sleeves and stronger repellent.  When you return from a hike or walk, don’t forget to check for ticks.  If you find one, see your doctor.

Treat – Discourage itching and apply cold cloths, a paste of baking soda and water, or hydrocortisone cream. If your child has been stung, remove the stinger by drawing a finger nail or a credit card across the sting, wash the area, and apply  a cold  compress. If your child starts wheezing, coughing, and/or breaking out in hives, he/she may be allergic and will need  immediate, professional medical attention.

Cuts and scrapes
Prevent – This is next to impossible. But, you can make sure your kids wear the proper protective gear — helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads — while biking or rollerblading. Also, make sure you keep an eye on your kids and discourage them from any dangerous activities.

Treat – For cuts, apply direct pressure and clean the area with soap and water. If the cut gapes open, your child may need stitches, so call the doctor.

Of course, remember in case of emergency always call 911.

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