We’ve officially entered the ‘dog days’ of summer, and with that comes dehydration, sunburns, bug bites and other seasonal hazards.
Dr. Donna Milavetz, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says kids are even more at risk for heat related illness – like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration.
She says, “Kids are different than adults…they generate more heat when they’re out there exercising and having fun. And we want them to stay active, but they’re more likely to get dehydrated because they don’t really think about it.”
One of the biggest keys to keeping kids happy and healthy during the hot summer months is to make sure they stay hydrated.
Milavetz says, “The number of 8-ounce drinks equal to your child's age is really the tip that I want people to remember.”
For an 8-year-old, that means they need eight 8-ounce glasses of water or liquid per day. That may feel like a lot, but there are things you can do to make it more fun.
“Add frozen fruit. Put them in ice trays as an example and then put them in water. Sparkling water can also make it exciting,” says Milavetz.
Another important reminder during the hot summer months – check your back seat every time you exit the car. “Kids in car seats have been forgotten nearly every summer, and it is lethal,” says Milavetz.
Some tips to prevent this tragedy include putting one of your shoes, computer, or purse in the backseat so you are forced to look when you reach your destination. Another idea is to have your child’s favorite toy in the front seat with you as a reminder that they are in the vehicle.
Summer also increases the risk of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
“Just a gentle reminder that sunscreen is really, really important,” says Milavetz.
And finally, don’t forget about the bugs.
“2021 was the highest year in recorded history of tracking West Nile Virus in mosquito traps.”
To prevent mosquito related illnesses, use bug spray, avoid standing water…and also watch out for ticks.
“There are ticks among us and we just really need to be sure that we’re doing that tick check at the end of the day,” says Milavetz.
She also suggests wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks, along with using mosquito repellent products when out hiking.
“Again, stay hydrated. Hydrate your kids. Wear sunscreen. Check the backseat, and check your body,” says Milavetz.
These small steps can help you enjoy fun in sun while staying safe.