Livingston County Department of Health has released various tips surrounding activities for the summer, and the following information offered covers child safety and Lyme disease prevention.
Keep Your Children Safe This Summer.
Hot weather provides opportunities for kids to enjoy the outdoors. Take steps to keep them safe and healthy, both indoors and outdoors.
Water safety: Never let your child play in or near water without an adult present. Even if children know how to swim, they can still find themselves at risk. Also remember that infants, toddlers and young children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Make sure that children wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, even if they know how to swim. Pools should have a four-sided fence, separating the pool from the house, keeping children away from the area when they are not supposed to be swimming. Also, teach kids to swim to prevent drowning and learn CPR to be ready in case of an emergency.
Insect Repellant: There are many insect repellants that are safe to use for children. Be sure you pick repellants with DEET, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR 3535, or citronella oil. If you use a repellant with DEET, be sure the product has less than 30% DEET, and do not spray near the mouth or eyes and follow manufacturer’s directions. Do not use insect repellants with DEET on infants; instead cover them with netting to avoid bites.
Sun Safety: Overexposure to sun and ultraviolet light increases your child’s risk of skin cancer. Regular use of sunscreen can lower children’s risk of skin cancer by almost 78% (www.keepkidshealthy.com). Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is the best defense. Sunscreen should be applied 30-45 minutes before exposure to the sun, and should be reapplied every 2 hours or sooner if your child has been swimming or sweating. Also, be sure to stay in the shade whenever possible, and wear clothing that protects you from the sun, such as a hat and sunglasses. Schedule outdoor activities for morning and evening hours when the sun is not as strong.
Bicycle Safety: All children ages 14 and under are required by law to wear their bicycle helmets. Wearing a bicycle helmet can protect a child of any age from serious injury. Make sure your bicycle has reflectors if you are biking at night.
For questions on summer safety please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7299 or visit our website at www.livingstoncounty.us/doh.htm.
With more outdoor activities in many families futures, the chances of contracting Lyme disease are increased.
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of infected deer ticks. Campers, hikers, outdoor workers and others who frequent wooded and tall grassy areas may be more likely exposed to ticks. Ticks like to rest on low-lying plants and attach to passing animals or people. The risk of exposure to ticks is greatest along trails in the woods and on the edges of properties with tall plant, but ticks may also be carried by animals and pets into lawns and gardens.
Early stages of Lyme disease are usually marked by one or more of the following symptoms and signs: fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and/or a “bull’s eye” red rash appearing on the skin at the site of the bite. Lyme disease is often difficult to diagnose, because its symptoms and signs mimic those of many other diseases. Left untreated, Lyme disease can produce severe arthritis, or cause neurological or cardiac problems. However, with early detection and treatment with antibiotics, recovery from Lyme disease is usually rapid and complete.
Domestic animals, such as dogs and outdoor cats, may become infected with Lyme disease bacteria, and some of these animals may develop arthritis. Dogs appear to be more at risk from Lyme disease. Symptoms in dogs include lethargy, joint pain, fever, fatigue and kidney damage. While there is debate about whether cats suffer from Lyme disease, cats are thought to be highly resistant to the disease.
You can decrease you and your family’s chances of being bitten by a tick by following a few precautions:
-When in wooded and grassy areas, wear light-colored clothing (to spot ticks) and tuck pants into socks and shirt into pants.
-After every two to three hours outdoors, check yourself, children, and pets for ticks. Brush off any ticks on clothing before they can attach to your skin.
-Check your entire body for ticks after being outdoors. Pay close attention to the back of the knees, behind the ears, the scalp, the groin, the armpits and your back.
-If you decide to use tick repellent, apply carefully and follow the label directions. Use caution with children and do not apply directly.
“If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove the tick as soon as possible as it will reduce the likelihood of getting any disease that a tick may be carrying”, states Jennifer Rodriguez, Public Health Director. Use fine- tipped tweezers to carefully grasp the mouth-parts of the tick close to the skin, and then gently and steadily pull the tick out without twisting or squeezing. After removing the tick, wash the bite area thoroughly, apply antiseptic, and mark the area to watch for symptoms. Ms. Rodriguez wants to remind people that gasoline, kerosene, petroleum jelly or hot matches should never be used to remove ticks. They are not an effective method and can cause more harm.
For more information about Lyme disease, call the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7280 or visit the web site at www.livingstoncounty.us/doh.htm.
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