As of March 20th, spring has sprung! And as the weather warms and we begin to head outside, our winter habits need to be updated accordingly, to ensure that our families stay safe and healthy. In addition to adhering to any specific plans established for your family, we generally advise parents to be particularly observant of the following spring health tips:
- Lyme disease prevention. As the weather warms, ticks begin flourishing. With the increase in tick activity comes a risk of contracting Lyme disease - an inflammatory illness caused by the bacteria in some tick's bites. Fortunately, Lyme disease is preventable. Avoiding tall grass and wooded areas while outdoors can help you avoid ticks. Keeping your own yard's grass and shrubbery trimmed will also cut down on potential exposure. While outdoors, consider using insect repellants known to work on ticks, and remember to dress appropriately. That means light colored clothing - so you can spot ticks - and tucking pant legs into your socks and boots, as well as shirts into your pants! Finally, make tick checks part of your routine any time you family spends time outdoors - even in your own yard. (To learn more about all of these tips, and about the symptoms of a tick bite, just click here.)
- Allergy and asthma care. While these two conditions often occur together, it’s important to note that they are not the same. An allergy refers to when our body's immune system overreacts to specific substances - such as pollen or animal dander. Asthma, on the other hand, is a respiratory condition - often resulting from an allergy - that makes it difficult for a sufferer to breathe. If your child has allergies, it’s important to monitor their triggers and to work with your doctor to safely learn how severe the allergy is. If your child has asthma, be sure to help them avoid common triggers that make it difficult for them to breathe. Additionally, you should meet with your Capital Area Pediatrics provider to review any allergy or asthma care and response plans - this will ensure they are up to date for the 2018 spring season.
- Sunlight protection. Warmer weather means we’ll be spending more time outdoors - and that means potential sun damage. Sun damage from UV rays is linked to skin cancer, and is cumulative. That means a bad burn now can increase your child’s risk of cancer later in life. To help protect your child, it’s important to stay in the shade whenever possible; to cover up with clothes as much as possible; to wear hats, preferably ones that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck; to wear sunglasses that block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible; and to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection every time your child goes outside.
These general guidelines can go a long way in making the new season a safer one! If you have any outstanding questions about your family’s care needs, please contact your Capital Area Pediatrics physician. Our team can individually assess your children’s health and safety needs, and ensure they are ready for spring. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!