Help for your summer health emergencies

Stay safe during your summer travels.

With summer officially under way, here are handy seasonal tips for avoiding and taking care of some common warm weather illnesses, injuries and conditions.

Swimmer’s ear
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal. Water becomes trapped in the ear and bacteria overgrow, causing a painful inflammation. Try to get all the water out of your ears after swimming, and consult your physician ASAP if you develop ear pain or a discharge from the ear.

Bug and tick bites
Bug and tick bites can cause summer rashes, and in the case of a deer tick bite, Lyme disease. Most insect bites are more annoying than harmful, and the itching can be managed with over-the-counter antihistamines. Don’t scratch, as bites can become infected from breaks in the skin, requiring antibiotics. Following any exposure to a wooded or grassy area, inspect yourself and pets for possible tick bites. Deer ticks are tiny and may be hard to spot, so look carefully. Lyme disease can result in a circular red rash that looks like a bulls-eye, but only in half the cases; any round, blotchy, red rash in summertime should be evaluated. Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics.

Sunburn
Sunburn results from an overexposure of skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Regularly and frequently apply sunscreen, and wear a hat whenever you will be out in the sun — or even on an extended car trip. The pain of sunburn can be treated with aspirin or ibuprofen, as well as moisturizers. Avoid sunburns at all costs — they increase your future risk of skin cancer and prematurely age your skin.

Poison ivy
Poison ivy is a toxic plant, the leaves of which are covered with an oil that causes an itchy, red, blistering rash of varying severity, depending on an individual’s sensitivity to exposure. The first step in managing poison ivy is avoiding it, so be familiar with its appearance if you are planning outdoor activities in wooded areas. If you or a family member develops an itchy rash after an outing, make sure you wash all skin surfaces, including under fingernails, as well as launder all clothing and shoes with soap and water to remove the irritating oils and prevent further spread. Antihistamines and hydrocortisone cream can be used to treat the itch — but if the poison ivy is widespread or severe, a prescription from your doctor for oral anti-inflammatory steroids may be indicated.

Heat illness
Heat illness is a spectrum of conditions ranging from mild symptoms from heat exhaustion to heat stroke, in which there is a failure of your body’s ability to regulate temperature, causing damage to your cardiovascular and central nervous systems from overheating.

The first three recommendations are to drink, drink and drink (water and/or sports drinks, that is). Staying well hydrated on hot summer days is key. Avoid alcoholic, carbonated and caffeinated beverages, as these can increase the likelihood of dehydration and interfere with body temperature regulation. On days where heat and humidity are high, stay indoors in an air-conditioned or shaded, fan-cooled room as much as possible. If you exercise regularly and the outdoor temperature is above 80 degrees, try to exercise indoors with air conditioning or limit your outdoor fitness activities to the early morning or late afternoon during the cooler, shadier parts of the day.

If you do start to feel faint, nauseated or have a headache, these might be the first signs or symptoms of heat-related illness. Go indoors to an air conditioned building — or into the shade if AC isn’t available — and drink a cool beverage. The objective is to avoid progressing to heat stroke, which requires a trip to the ER and hospitalization.

– Mark Melrose, DO, is a board-certified emergency physician at Urgent Care Manhattan. E-mail him your questions at askdrmark@metro.us.
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

Movies

Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba…

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Food

The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…