Mommy Minute: Tips for treating top summertime ailments

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Whether swimming in a pool, lake or ocean, swimmer’s ear can quickly become a painful problem for kids.

“It will advance in pain and swelling and there will sometimes be a discharge in the ear,” said Jessica Myers, a nurse practitioner at CVS MinuteClinic.

Water gets stuck in the ear and bacteria begins to grow. You can prevent it by drying out the ear with a towel and using over-the-counter drops.

A homemade mixture of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar is equally effective. Squirt it into the ear. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then drain the ear by tilting your head to the side.

Ear infections usually appear within a day or two of swimming. Symptoms include itchiness inside the ear; redness and swelling; tenderness to touch; and possible puss draining from the infected ear.

Although you can take steps to prevent swimmer’s ear, once it starts, your child needs to be evaluated.

“We prescribe an ear drop that has an antibiotic and a medicine that helps decrease the swelling and pain,” Myers said.

Another problem associated with the beach is jellyfish stings. Rumor has it urinating on the sting will help.

Myers says don’t believe it.

“It can cause more irritation and pain , so we do not recommend urinating on a jellyfish sting or using meat tenderizer,” she said. “We do recommend rinsing it with sea water and applying an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin or Bacitracin and covering it with a bandage when you get home.”

A jellyfish sting should be seen by a doctor if there’s increasing redness, pain or signs of an infection.

Stings from sea lice, which are microscopic jellyfish, affect wide areas. Make a paste of baking soda and water, but DO NOT mix it with vinegar. That causes a chemical reaction that further irritates the skin. For follow up treatment, Calamine lotion will dry the wound.

If a family member or friend is stung by a Portuguese Man O War, call emergency services and seek immediate treatment. Their stings are severe and can cause shock or even temporary paralysis.

Too much time outside? Sunburns should be easy to treat at home.

“Topically we would apply some aloe or hydrocoristone cream and use a cool bath or shower to relieve that discomfort,” Myers said. “You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like an a Tylenol or Advil for comfort.”

But sometimes even a sunburn can need medical attention.

“Sunburns that would start to blister and cause increasing amounts of pain, also with the presence of a headache, nausea, chills and confusion we would want to be evaulated,” Myers said.

As for how to avoid sunburn; apply sunblock 15 minutes before going outside and use an SPF of at least 30. Also make sure the sunscreen says that it is broad spectrum, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

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