Monday, December 8, 2008

Mid-Summer Health Problems: How to Deal

Summer is almost ending – almost being the operative word. With a few weeks left before summer officially ends, some people are getting careless about sun protection and other what-not that can put them at risk of health problems that often occur during the season. Most have been dabbing on sunscreen like there is no tomorrow but more than sunburned and scaly skin, summer health problems can range from the fatal to the trivial. Below are just some of the common health problems people suffer from during the summer:

  • Heat stroke. When your body is unable to cool down on its own, you may suffer from symptoms like a high body temperature (106 F or higher), very hot and dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, delirium. When left unattended, heat stroke can be fatal. Spray your face and body with cold water to help lower the temperature. Putting ice packs under the armpits and the groin can also speed up cooling. Immediate medical attention is needed since the intense body heat can cause damage to the internal organs so contact medical aid as soon as possible.

  • Heat exhaustion. It occurs when your body loses water and salts through perspiration and does not replenish them. Symptoms include pale, clammy skin, fatigue, excessive sweating, and cramping despite normal body temperature. The techniques given for treating heat exhaustion are similar to those that are used for heat stroke. But since heat exhaustion is primarily caused by dehydration, drinking lot of water and electrolyte-loaded drinks like Gatorade can help lessen the seriousness of the condition. Even so, medical attention is still needed.

  • Bug and insect attacks. Insect stings can cause allergic reactions in many people. There are also instances when bugs can fly into a person's ear and cause severe pain. Bug bites such as that of ants and mosquitoes are easily treated tea tree oil. For attacks that leave stingers such as those of bees you can use a tweezer or a credit card to remove the stinger. Wash the affected area with soap and water then apply a calamine lotion. .

  • Animal bites. Domesticated animals like dogs and cats and wild ones like raccoons and squirrels can leave bite marks that wound. They may even be infected with rabies. Wash the wound with soap and water or cleanse it with an antiseptic swab immediately. Dry the wound gently then apply an antibiotic cream to prevent the spread of bacteria and a possible infection. Cover the bite with a clean bandage to avoid infection from insects that might land on it. When done, seek medical attention immediately especially if the wound looks infected and deep.

  • Burns. Whether it caused by fire or overexposure to the sun, burns reveal a delicate layer of skin which is shiny, raw, and red. Burned areas are often painful and sensitive. Without proper treatment permanent scarring might occur. Hold the burned area under cold running water or compress for at least five minutes, or until the pain subsides. However, avoid putting ice directly on the burn as this can cause more damage. Wrap a gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin to keep air off the burned skin, reduce pain, and protects blistered area. You can take an OTC painkiller to reduce the pain. Wear loose clothing made of breathable materials to let your skin breathe.

  • Fungal infection. The humid temperature and the possibility of excessive sweating during the summer are the perfect conditions required to speed up fungal infections. Athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and nail fungus are some of the most common fungal infections. While these infections look differently, they are mostly itchy and can cause swelling. Unsightly and rough patches in red and discolored patches are often visible. Applying ketoconazole on affected areas can soothe the irritated skin and kill fungi.

While uncomfortable and possibly dangerous, the health problems described above can be easily remedied if you keep your medicine cabinet and first aid kid stocked with basic supplies. You can order medicine online and pick up other supplies from the local drugstore.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

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