When people think of seasonal illnesses, winter colds and spring allergies usually come to mind. However, summertime can be a hotbed for illnesses as well, especially when it comes to your kids. Your children will likely spend the summer adventuring in the great outdoors and soaking up the sunshine—but the outdoors come equipped with a variety of illnesses that can affect your kids and even the whole family.
This blog will list a few of the most common illnesses your kids are likely to contract during the warmest summer months, and how you can treat these illnesses.
Coxsackie, a form of enterovirus, occurs most often in children under age six, with symptoms including fever, loss of appetite, mouth sores, sore throat, and rashes on the feet, hands, buttocks, and genitals. Coxsackie can potentially lead to Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, which can be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids like mucus and saliva. The best way to avoid this ailment is to avoid contact with people who have Coxsackie, and avoid sharing beverages or shared surfaces with someone who has the virus.
There is no cure for Coxsackie—it will have to run its course for as short as a few days or as long as a few weeks. Use non-aspirin pain medications, purchase certain types of mouthwash to numb the pain of mouth sores, and keep your child hydrated until this ailment subsides.
Croup, an infection of the upper airway, causes inflammation, labored breathing, mucus buildup in the airway, harsh coughing, and common cold symptoms. This is another highly communicable infection that can be spread from child to child, and will eventually resolve on its own.
To deal with symptoms of Croup, use a humidifier to improve your child’s breathing, give them plenty of fluids, monitor their breathing during sleep, and use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation. To prevent the spread of Croup, keep your child isolated from other children until symptoms subside.
If your kid is headed off to a Colorado summer camp (or a family camping trip) in a densely wooded area, they are hopefully going to experience nature and all of its wonders—but they’ll also be at a higher risk for Lyme Disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. This is one of the more serious infections that can spread during the summertime, with flu-like symptoms such as aches, chills, headache, fever, and fatigue.
Lyme Disease that is detected early on can be treated with antibiotics, but untreated Lyme Disease can cause damage to other areas of the body like the heart, joints, and nervous system. Always check yourself and your children for ticks after going on wilderness adventures—be sure to check the scalp during this process. Keep a close eye on your child if you suspect they’ve been bitten by a tick and take them to the doctor if the begin to experience flu-like symptoms.
As one of the most contagious illnesses on this list, whooping cough can spread quickly, especially in areas with large populations of kids like a summer camp. Symptoms of whooping cough include violent, involuntary coughing, followed by a deep, “whooping” inhalation noise, vomiting, and fatigue.
It’s important to note that cough medicine will not help treat whooping cough; this ailment must run its course. However, symptoms can be kept in check with prescription antibiotics and plenty of fluids. Take your child to the doctor as soon as possible if you suspect they might have whooping cough.
Norovirus, often known as “that pesky stomach bug that’s going around,” is a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus that causes nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever, body aches, and chills. This virus is often foodborne and causes the stomach and intestines to become inflamed.
Like many of the ailments on this list, norovirus must run its course before it leaves your child’s system. Keep your child hydrated especially if they are vomiting, and use over the counter pain medication to reduce swelling and fever
It’s a classic summertime ailment highlighted by burnt, red, and sensitive skin—but in severe cases, that same sunburn can lead to blisters and flu symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, and fatigue.
While most adults have experienced these symptoms after long hikes, beach bumming, or other summertime adventures, it’s important to teach your children how to take care of themselves on the hottest and sunniest days of the year.
You know what your mom taught you: Always apply sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher and reapply often during sunny days, wear polarized sunglasses to avoid burning your retinas, sport a hat to avoid severe sunburn on your nose, ears, neck, and face, and of course,drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration that usually comes with sunburn.
Too much sun and heat won’t just give you a painful sunburn—it can potentially leave you with heat exhaustion or heatstroke. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 people in the United States die every year from complications of heat exhaustion and stroke—which is more than the deaths from tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, or any other natural disaster combined. Heat-related illnesses are very serious and should be treated as such.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion usually precede those of heatstroke, including dizziness, profuse sweating, rapid heart rate, cramps, vomiting, and skin that’s cool to the touch and covered with goosebumps. Heatstroke symptoms occur when the body’s internal temperature rises above 104 degrees, leading to mental confusion, flushed skin, throbbing headaches, and rapid breathing/hyperventilation.
Many of these symptoms occur during strenuous summer hikes, excessive beach time, or summer yard work—so if your child experiences any heat exhaustion symptoms, bring them inside, run the air conditioner, and make them sip cold fluids like water or sports drinks to lower their internal temperature. DO NOT go to extreme measures to lower their internal temperature, like putting them in an ice cold tub or shower—this can actually cause the body to go into shock.
If you have any inkling that your child has heatstroke, call 911 immediately. This is a very serious condition that can be fatal if not treated properly.