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This year, our family kicked off the summer in the great outdoors of Vail, Colorado. But before we went on our family exploration, we asked the kids to imagine what lied ahead. This sparked some fun family conversations around the dinner table. Jackson said he was going to catch the biggest fish and beat a world record, while Dylan simply envisioned eating s’mores every night by the fire. Roman, on the other hand, wanted to see new bugs, proclaiming that different bugs live in different states. You’d better believe that Mom stayed far away from that one, but, it got me thinking.
Although San Diego has minimal mosquitos, I know that’s not the case in other parts of the country. Before traveling, I made it a point to get our family ready for whatever the outdoors had in store for us this summer. From cuts and scrapes to preventing bug bites, I need to have a lot of tricks up my sleeve for both prevention and treatment. Turning to my longtime brand partner KnowYourOtcs.org always has us covered so we can focus on what we love best – being outside!
As a busy mom of four, I have always found prevention to be one of the best practices when it comes to outdoor safety. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported illnesses from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the U.S. since 2004. Here are four great summer bug tips for parents from Dr. Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc:
1. Don’t use bug repellent on young infants
2. Only apply to healthy skin and on outside of clothes
3. Apply bug spray 15-20 minutes before going outdoors
4. DEET is safe to use and VERY effective
As parents, we want to know specific information when it comes to bug spray, like how long the effectiveness lasts before needing to re-apply. Here’s a link from healthychildren.org, powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics that includes tips for teaching your children about bug bite prevention, which is especially useful for those with older kids who might be going to sleepaway camp.
Just in case it’s too late, and your child indeed has bug bites, check out this page on skin protectants featured on KnowYourOTCs.org, It’s an excellent resource for additional information for parents, camp counselors and anyone else who might be organizing outdoor activities for children.
For those itchy scratchy moments from bug bites that don’t seem to go away, these tips could come in handy:
1. Consider OTC allergy medicines (aka diphenhydramine) for finding relief from itchiness.
2. Use an emery board to soften your child’s nails so that when they scratch in their sleep, their nails will be soft and less likely to break the skin.
3. Cover up bites that drive kids crazy with band-aids or clothing as a cue for them not to scratch (the cycle of itching then scratching can go on and on — avoiding the scratch helps them calm down).
We also spoke with Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Mama Doc on treating bug bites. Dr. Swanson advises that when a bug bite results in an allergic reaction, it’s safe to use anti-allergy meds (diphenhydramine) to alleviate itching. It’s also safe to use OTC hydrocortisone cream/ointment on bites that aren’t scratched open.
Cuts & Scrapes
It’s inevitable! The kids are going to get cuts and scrapes during their favorite summertime activities, and I can’t count how many times my kids have hurt themselves with me standing nearby. In terms of treatment, Dr. Swanson advises cleaning a wound and using an antibiotic ointment for 1-3 days. Check out this page about topical pain relievers from the KnowYourOTCs.org website.
There have been countless times when I’ve needed a handy First-Aid-Kit! This video provides step-by-step instructions on how to pack a First-Aid Kit, an essential part to being outdoor ready this summer. I encourage you to watch it and learn how to stock it correctly! I always pack one in my suitcase when traveling, and have a spare one in my car
As parents, we’re always learning, and I’ve learned first hand that prevention is learning the easy way. As we set out to explore and soak in the rest of this glorious summer, we’ll likely spend more time outside than in. My budding little wannabe Bear Grylls kiddos feed off the energy of the sun, and what can I say? Mom does too! Being prepared simply makes things go smoothly when Mother Nature has other plans. Thanks to Know Your OTCs, we can all comfortably cohabitate in the great outdoors together. Exploring a new state and its bugs will remain on our bucket list for years to come, no matter where we head next!