Keep kids safe and healthy this summer
For some reason, sickness is often associated with wintertime, but there are plenty of infections common in the summer that can take the wind right out of your child’s summer-loving sails.
Summertime illnesses can be just as debilitating as their winter counterparts; sometimes they’re just harder to catch.
Although it’s more common in winter, it is also possible to catch the common cold in the summer.
Adenovirus infections, which can cause a variety of symptoms, also are more common in the late winter and spring, but can occur in the early summer.
Most of these infections are spread from fecal-oral and respiratory routes from other infected children. Simple hand washing and avoiding sharing food or drinks with other children, especially sick children, can help greatly reduce your child’s chances of getting sick, too.
Some other illness-spreading culprits are insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.
Mosquito-borne infections can lead to West Nile encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and dengue fever. They are more common in the summer, specifically the late summer and early autumn.
Tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ehrlichiosis.
Another common cause of infections and illness in the summer months is food poisoning or food-borne illnesses, because bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. With higher heat and more outdoor cookouts and picnics, people are particularly susceptible.
Finally, people can catch amebic meningoencephalitis, a rapid and usually fatal infection, which can affect children who swim in warm, polluted and stagnant water, such as a lake or poorly chlorinated swimming pool.
Mosquito and tick-borne infections can be avoided by preventing your child from getting bitten by ticks or mosquitoes. In high-risk areas for Lyme disease, you should have your child wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with high socks and boots.
Tuck pant legs into socks and use a tick repellent. Also, check your child’s body for ticks at least once or twice a day, especially if you have been camping or playing in tick-infested areas.
An insect repellent with Deet, citronella or soybean oil can help to prevent mosquito bites. Wear light-colored clothing, on which ticks can easily be seen, and avoid using any scented soaps or other products on your baby, since the fragrances can attract insects.
Food poisoning can be prevented by frequently washing your hands and cooking surfaces, not allowing foods and utensils to become cross-contaminated, cooking foods to their proper temperature and promptly refrigerating leftovers.
These simple precautions can help your child to have a safe, fun and infection-free summer and help you save up your sick days for when school is back in session.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Virginia Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner and Congressmen Glenn Nye, Randy Forbes, Rob Wittman, and Bobby Scott... read more