Yup its that time of year when we are all out there having WAY more fun than normal and well lets be honest often we aren’t yet prepared for the activities we THINK we are ready to do in their full glory. Here are some of the common issues we’ll throw ourselves in the way of and how to deal with it if we do.
Sunstroke/dehydration which presents with malaise, headache, cramps, thirst, dry skin and small volumes of dark urine. Babies and the elderly are most at risk of serious dehydration.
This is an easy one to deal with, its caused due to the fact that you’re not putting in as much fluid as you’re losing. Which is hardly surprising on hot summer days like we tend to have oh… about now.
The factors that lead to this are, you are sweating, probably doing more exercise than usual. Oh and that Margarita or frosty brew is not an ideal fluid replacement as that can actually ADD to the dehydration though I am sure that’s not a factor with you now is it ?
Do yourself a favor in the simmer, try to acclimatize yourself slowly and go easy on the booze and exercise when just getting back into the summer activities. Keep cool and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.
While it may seem funny at the time particularly if it isn’t you, this is really no laughing matter. If you or a friend are feeling really ill – with vomiting or drowsiness PLEASE seek medical help.
Athlete’s foot itchy, cracked skin between your toes. This may spread to the soles and sides of your feet.
We’ve seen enough TV adds that we probably know this is a fungal infection. A day lazing around the pool means hot, soggy feet, an ideal microclimate for fungi.
Dry your feet thoroughly after swimming or washing, and avoid shoes that make your feet sweat. Better still, dig out those flip flops and wear them as much as possible.
There are many Anti-fungal creams are available over the counter. Continue the treatment for a week after the rash seems to have disappeared, as there may still be fungi present.
Muscle Strain pain, swelling and general discomfort in areas over used in sports or heavy activities.
The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain. Rule of thumb the first seventy two hours to two weeks NO HEAT. I’m an ice ice baby fan… oh not the song.
Note: Ice should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering such as a towel between the ice and the skin.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as Ibuprofen can in some cases reduce the pain and to improve your ability to move around.
Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here’s how
Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful.
Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
Compression can be a gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can provide both support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for example.
Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly gone away.
Swimmer’s ear which presents as An itchy discharge from your ear.
This is actually an infection. It results from you marinating your ears in pool or sea water, then baking them in sunshine.
Prevention is very important because it tends to recur.
If you or your kids are prone to this the tricks are: keep water out of your ears; use earplugs when you swim. And don’t be tempted to ease the symptoms by digging around in the ear canal with a Q-tip as this only make matters worse.
In some rare occasions, it will need treatment with drops or a spray containing an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics. See your GP if this is persistent.
Prickly heat an intense prickly, itchy rash, which keeps you awake at night. It may recur in the heat.
This is caused by blocked sweat ducts which then force sweat into your skin, causing the rash. Any environment that makes you particularly sweaty may trigger an attack.
This can be a tough one and I sure hope you aren’t susceptible to it. If you are, keep as cool as possible, seek the shade, wear loose-fitting “breathable” fabrics and shower regularly.
Calamine cream may ease the itch. Antihistamines help only because they make you drowsy, which means that you are less aware of the irritation.
Insect bites and stings bites produce itchy lumps, often in clusters, which may take up to a day to develop. Stings produce more immediate, intense pain and redness. Oh do I need to mention here… bug repellent… should be part of your summer simmer kit !
Summer insects often bite. Some people are allergic to the insect’s saliva, and so develop a marked itchy reaction around the bite, with swelling or blistering. Allergies to wasp or bee stings can be VERY serious as they can cause anaphylactic shock in those unfortunate enough to have these allergies.
For the more typical irritation, cold compresses and calamine lotion are usually adequate. Mild reactions improve with antihistamines.
A severe reaction such as when your lip or tongue swells, or you have difficulty breathing – requires immediate medical attention. Don’t play around with this if you see these symptoms
Food poisoning tummy ache and or diarrhea, often with vomiting and potentially a temperature.
Generally bacteria in food are the culprit here. The gut then tries to flush through and squeeze out this unseen menace, hence the symptoms.
Summer barbecues are high risk; particularly if food is left out of the fridge, the work areas are dirty, the food isn’t cooked properly. One of the chief causes are foods with mayonnaise that has been sitting in the hot sun for hours. Gods own Petri dish.
Fluid replacement is key, with frequent sips of water being most effective. Anti diarrheas can be useful if you’re spending most of your time on the toilet. Again, prevention is important, so observe basic food hygiene rules and you’ll avoid this weekend destroying problem.
Thanks for reading and go have fun out there.
Dr. Camp can be reached at 415 922 2225.