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White Plains Hospital: Making Sure Summer Stays Safe for Kids

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White Plains Hospital: Making Sure Summer Stays Safe for Kids

By Dr. Debra Etelson

The kids are out of school and looking for action! But as with any adventures, some caution should be taken – and knowing what to do if things go wrong can be critically important. Here are some tips to keep in mind from Dr. Debra Etelson, a board-certified pediatrician who provides primary care to children and teenagers through White Plains Hospital:

Children should slather on sunscreen if they’re heading outside. 40-50 SPF is the recommended range for maximum effectiveness. Reapply every 1-2 hours, or more often if they’re swimming or perspiring excessively. Hats can also play a key role in minimizing sun exposure, if they’re willing to keep them on.

Speaking of swimming: Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old. Closely monitor your young children if they’re in a pool; likewise, if they’re old enough to head to the lake or larger bodies of water, keep an eye on them. Don’t rely on lifeguards when it comes to your child’s safety and put down your phone!

Bug bites or stings can present their own challenges. Pain, swelling and redness from a bee sting can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, but those symptoms do not necessarily mean it’s an emergency. However, an allergic reaction – known as anaphylaxis – will present within two hours of the sting, marked by hives and trouble breathing and swallowing. Such severe reactions occur in roughly four out of every 1,000 children. If this happens, take the child immediately to the nearest emergency room.

Ticks can also hamper summer fun – but not all ticks carry disease. If you find a tick on your child, use tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as you can, then pull straight upward without twisting to remove the tick. Call your pediatrician after removing the tick; depending on how long it was attached, they may want to give antibiotic prophylaxis.

If your child develops a rash, fever, or persistent headache – or begins exhibiting other unusual symptoms – beginning 2 to 14 days after the bite, call your physician. A red ring or “bull’s-eye” rash appearing 3 to 30 days after the bite indicates the presence of Lyme disease and should be addressed immediately.

Encourage everyone to enjoy all that the summer months offer – but take a prudent approach if and when a mishap occurs. And of course if you have any additional concerns, contact your pediatrician.

Dr. Debra Etelson is a board-certified pediatrician who provides primary care to children and teenagers through White Plains Hospital Physician Associates in Somers. To make an appointment for your child, call 914-849-7075.

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