Temperatures are on the rise this summer, and as they rise, so do the health risks associated with high heat. As a nurse (or as a Unitek College student preparing to become a nurse), you’re seen as a trusted confidante, advocate, and source of information, which means that you might just be able to be the “ounce of prevention” that helps a family avoid an emergency trip to the hospital this summer.
Sunburn is one of the most obvious summer villains, and one of the easiest to spot among your future patients. It’s also one of the easiest problems to avoid. Since sunburn can lead to other, more serious problems (such as skin cancer), remember to encourage parents and children to use plenty of sunscreen.
If you need some additional information on the best choices for sunscreen, check out this article by Parents.com. And be sure and remind them to check those expiration dates as well.
According to dermatologist Dr. Rachel Herschenfeld, “It is very important to check those expiration dates. Many sunscreen ingredients do not have an incredibly long shelf life, so throw away the old stuff and replace it!”
Heatstroke and Dehydration are two more problems that parents and children face over the summer, and it’s important that all your patients understand the risks and symptoms of both. The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent breakdown of both heatstroke and dehydration symptoms. Both are issues that could quickly turn summer activities into a terrifying trip to the emergency room, so make sure all your patients are drinking plenty of water and watching for warning signs.
And along those lines, parents with small children should know that they should never leave a child in a hot car, even for just a few minutes. An average of 38 children a year die as a result of being trapped in a hot car, and information is key to lowering that number.
Drowning is another summer risk, with so many families beating the heat by jumping into pool, lakes, or taking trips to the beach, and most parents know to keep a close eye on their children around water. But conditions known as dry drowning and secondary drowning can throw parents for a curve. These are conditions that can cause serious health problems up to 24 hours after a child has swallowed water. Study the symptoms and causes, and if you think you see signs of secondary drowning in a patient, be sure and let your supervising physician know immediately.
Insect Bites are another preventable summer problem, and with the rise of West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and others, it’s not one that should be ignored. HealthyChildren.org provides a great list of insect repellents and instructions for best use.
Of course, remember to keep all of these precautions in mind for yourself as well this summer. Study hard, play hard, but do whatever you can to make sure you have many, many more summers ahead of you to enjoy.
If you’d like more information on starting your nursing career, you can contact us here.