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Published on May 31, 2019

Preparing for a Healthy Summer: Staying Safe

Preparing for a Healthy SummerIn this Fox 8 House Calls series, Cone Health experts give tips on how to have a safe and healthy summer, including:

Preparing for a Healthy Summer: Pool and Water Safety

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children in the United States. Whether you are spending time at a pool, lake or beach this summer, it is important for parents to always designate a “water watcher.” Water watchers must stay in close proximity to their children and keep an eye on them at all times as they play in the water. It is recommended to select swimming areas with lifeguards on duty who are trained to administer CPR.

Having the proper water safety equipment is also important. Children who cannot swim or are just beginning to learn may need to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) (including a life jacket) properly fitted to their weight and age. When selecting flotation devices, it is important to find one that is U.S. Coast Guard certified and designed to the appropriate level for your child. Inflatable “floaties” or “water wings” are not appropriate lifesaving flotation devices, as they pose a danger of leaking air. Children’s arms can also slip out of them. When small children and infants use inflatable pool floats, a parent or guardian should always be within arm’s reach.

While swim lessons are definitely encouraged for all children to help ensure water safety, just because a child can swim does not mean they should ever be left unmonitored near a body of water. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water, which is why it’s important to supervise them even in shallow, portable pools and to drain the water when it’s not in use. Parents of teens should also be mindful, as they are at the second highest risk of drowning, next to toddlers.

In any instance of a drowning or severe heat-related incident, parents should call 911 immediately and let local EMS get their children to the correct emergency facility.

Ross Kuhner, MD, is the medical director and board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Cone Health’s Children’s Emergency Department located at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kuhner is a 2003 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his residency in pediatrics at University of North Carolina Hospitals and completed a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Preparing for a Healthy Summer: What’s Up With My College Student Home for the Summer?

As the school year wraps up and your college student comes home for the summer, expect change. What that change looks like depends on your student. They’ve been in a new world for the past 9 months, so expect differences. Don’t expect things to be the way they were when they were in high school.

Set expectations, and make it clear what those are:

  • Will your college student have a job while they are home for the summer?
  • Do they have a curfew?
  • Will you continue to support them financially and what does that look like?
  • Will they have responsibilities around the house (e.g., watching a younger sibling, cleaning, etc.)?

They may have different expectations than you do. That’s why it’s important to set boundaries early, along with consequences if expectations aren’t met.

Realize this is a transition time in your relationship. Your student is transitioning into adulthood, and as such, you should speak to and treat them as people. There is more give-and-take versus mandates. You should also expect them to treat you as an adult as well. Keep the conversation open and let them know you’re still always there for them.

Jenny Edminson, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and counselor at Cone Health’s Behavioral Health Partial Hospitalization Program. She received a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her Master of Social Work through the Joint Master of Social Work Program between North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Preparing for a Healthy Summer: Planning for Healthy Summer Travels

Many families enjoy traveling during the summer, and preparing in advance is key to having a fun and safe vacation. Whether you’ll be travelling domestically or internationally, you should bring the medicines that you routinely take with you. Don’t forget to include things like ibuprofen, and omeprazole if you suffer from acid reflex. If you have asthma, make sure to bring a rescue inhaler. It’s better to have all medicines with you than having to search for a local pharmacy last minute. Consider where you’re going and plan accordingly. For example, if you’re going to the beach, don’t forget extra sunscreen, bug spray and lotions to alleviate sunburns. If you’ll be hiking during your trip, you might want to pack some DEET-based bug spray, permethrin for clothing to prevent bug bites and lidocaine in case you get a bite. If you’ll be traveling internationally, traveler’s diarrhea is common. Remember to drink bottled water, even for brushing teeth. Consider bringing Pepto-Bismol and Imodium, along with any antibiotics recommended by your doctor in case you need them.

Consider going to a travel clinic prior to international travel to get any required vaccines. If you’re going to a place where infections (such as malaria, yellow fever or Zika virus) are common, you should check to see if there are vaccines to prevent those diseases and ways to minimize risk. In the past year, more cases of measles have been seen in the U.S. and internationally. Talk to your primary care provider about whether you need a measles booster. It generally takes a few weeks for your body to develop immunity after you receive a vaccine, so plan ahead.

If you or a family member gets sick on vacation, don’t wait to see your primary care provider. You can get instant advice through Cone Health Connected Care via phone, video and e-Visits. If you need to see a provider in person, there is plenty of access to hospitals and clinics in larger metropolitan areas.

If you travel internationally, it’s recommended you purchase medical evaluation insurance. This emergency medical travel insurance generally covers medical expenses you may incur, but more importantly, it will also cover the cost of flying you back home early in the event you become critically ill or injured. Many credit card companies offer this insurance free of charge, so check to see if you already have it before purchasing. If you do have to pay, the average cost is only a few dollars a day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has helpful information for travelers, including recommended vaccines, medicines and travel alerts.

Cynthia Snider, MD, is an infectious diseases specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Cone Health, and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. She completed medical school at the University of Utah in 2005. Dr. Snider completed her internal medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

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