People tend to assume that Winter is the most popular time to get sick because we tend to see an influx of colds and cases of flu. However, Summer brings forth a different set of weather conditions and different illnesses/ailments to spoil your summer fun. Here’s a top 10 list of prevalent Summer illnesses here in North Texas.
10. Coxsackie (Hand, Foot, and Mouth)
This virus thrives during the warmers months and infects more than 200,000 people every year. Although most common in children younger than age 10- adults are not in the clear from this one. It usually starts with: fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a general feeling of malaise. One or two days after the fever begins, you might notice its characteristic small red sores appearing. Since there is no specific treatment for this enterovirus, we recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and numbing mouthwash or spray. You can lower your risk of contracting this virus by washing your hands often and well (especially after using the restroom), Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (including toys), and avoiding close contact with those known to have Hand, Foot, and Mouth.
9. Food Poisoning
Who doesn’t love summer barbecues and picnics? Unfortunately, bacteria love them too. They provide the perfect breeding ground and conditions for bacteria to multiply. Food prepared in advance and not kept in food safe conditions creates the perfect scenario for contamination and food poisoning. Food borne illnesses contribute to the death of around 3,000 Americans every year according to the CDC. Try to keep cold foods at the recommended 40 degrees F with gel packs or ice in a cooler until serving time. Try to limit the food’s exposure to the elements by limiting it to two hours outside of the recommended temperature, and only one hour if the temperature creeps above 90 degrees F. As with cold foods, the same time limits apply, however, they need to be kept above 140 degrees F for safe eating. Most cases of food poisoning can be treated at home effectively, however, fluid replacement is essential. If symptoms persist or are severe, please reach out to your doctor.
As the temperatures in North Texas go up, so does the risk for getting a headache. Some believe that the heat makes the blood vessels expand in your head which causes more pressure along nerve endings. Exercise and dehydration can also play a role in Summer headaches. The National Headache Foundation indicated that Summer was the worst season for headache sufferers and the sun is even a trigger for some migraine sufferers. Proper hydration is key to alleviate a headache caused by dehydration and over-the-counter pain relievers should provide relief for any exercise or heat-related headaches.
Chances are you’ve dealt with the unpleasant experience of a sunburn at some point in your life. Summer temperatures have us exposing more skin and spending more time outdoors which leads to an increase in UV exposure and sunburns during these warmer months. We know sunscreen is an important factor in protecting ourselves from long-term skin damage. The question is- Do you know these important facts to help keep you sunburn free this Summer? You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure, so be sure and lather it on the kids before you even leave to go to the pool. You should be using applying enough to generously coat your body (approximately one ounce for the average sized person). And finally, reapplying every 90 minutes to two hours throughout the day. Be cautious and read the labels on your favorite water-resistant sunscreens to see how long they are water resistant to make sure that you are reapplying properly. Other ways to stay safe include: staying in the shade, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding the mid-day sun, and UV protectant clothing.
6. Hyperthermia (Heat Stroke)
Hyperthermia or heat stroke is the leading cause of death amongst young adults and teens and contributed to the deaths of more than 9,000 Americans between 1979 and 2013. One common example is children being left in hot cars during the summer (so far 2018 has seen 12 child heatstroke deaths). Heat Stroke occurs when the body’s mechanisms it uses to cool are overcome by the heat and raise the body’s core temperature above 40 degrees C. It’s preceded by heat exhaustion and starts with dizziness, headaches, and weakness which can be followed by unconsciousness and organ failure. To treat this the body needs to be cooled which is generally done with water, cold air, or ice packs. In the hospital, they will check for complications like the breakdown of muscle tissues, which can lead to kidney damage.
5. Recreational Water Illnesses
Different types of bacteria can be transmitted through water used for recreational purposes, such as lakes, pools, hot tubs and water parks. Most commonly, we see Norovirus, Crypto, Giardia and E. Coli. To help the spread of RWI’s never swim when you are suffering from diarrhea, always make sure to cover any open wounds with waterproof bandages, never change diapers in the pool area, and never swallow pool water.
4. Heat Rash
Another summer ailment most of us have experienced is heat rash. It’s classic red or pink pimple like rash develops when sweat ducts become blocked and begin to swell. It’s most common amongst children and often causes discomfort and itching. It usually does not require medical attention and will clear on its own in a matter of days. Occasionally, complications pus, pain, and swelling will occur that necessitate a trip to your doctor.
3. Bug Bites
Insects enjoy Summer just as much as we do. Unfortunately bites from mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, and spiders are not only annoying- they can lead to illness and infection. Mosquitos tend to get most of the blame with West Nile and now Zika on everyone’s radar. According to the CDC, Texas saw 133 cases of West Nile in 2017 which lead to 5 deaths. Zika is a relative newcomer to the scene and we saw 54 cases in Texas last year. While not a huge issue in Texas, tick bites can also come with their share of diseases (Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever being the most likely culprits).
2. Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s Ear is one of the most common Summer ailments on the list. The CDC estimates that nearly half a billion dollars in healthcare costs go into treating the 2.4 million health care visits for this condition. Swimmer’s Ear occurs when water is trapped in the ear canal and bacteria is allowed to grow. Symptoms usually include itchiness in the ear, redness or swelling of the ear, and ear pain. Thankfully, swimmer’s ear is generally easily treatable with antibiotics.
1. Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac
Many summer-time past times increase your chance of exposure to Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac including working in the yard, hiking or camping. However, the most dangerous way to come in contact with the plants is through breathing smoke from a fire burning any of these plants. People who are allergic to these poisonous plants typically develop a red, itchy rash. If you have a minor rash, check out to see what you can find at your local drugstore for relief. If your rash is more severe or on the face, a visit to the doctor is definitely in order. Learning how to identify each of these plants can go a long way in the prevention of coming into contact with them.
If you or a loved one become in need of urgent care services this summer, we hope you will make us your urgent care of choice! Open 10am-8pm 7 days a week. We serve the whole family from 1-99.