Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer travel, trips and outdoor fun, especially for the weekend warriors.
Insect and spider bites are often no more than a nuisance, but occasionally they can cause dangerous symptoms and complications, especially if you have an allergic reaction or contract a disease from the bite. Throughout summer, more time spent outdoors means a greater risk of insect and spider bites, but you can stay safe from bug bites at barbecues, picnics, or sporting events by knowing how to prevent, diagnose, and treat bites.
Respiratory allergies include seasonal and pet-related allergies, and cause mild symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, and wheezing. Sometimes, these allergies can also cause a rash and itchy skin.
Preventing Respiratory Allergies
- Buy a large and quiet high-efficiency (HEPA) air cleaner for your bedroom to help remove airborne allergens.
- Use an air conditioner in your home and car during warm seasons to keep pollen out and reduce indoor humidity (which encourages the growth of molds, mites, and roaches).
- If you have a water leak that can’t be fixed, regularly clean damp areas with a diluted bleach solution to kill molds.
- Always run the exhaust fans when showering and cooking.
- Verify that your clothes dryer is vented to the outside.
- If you become sensitized to dogs or cats, try to find them a new home; otherwise try to keep them groomed regularly, off furniture (especially your bed and pillows), and outside as much as possible.
Respiratory Allergy Treatment
Treatment for mild allergies includes over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or injected corticosteroids or extra-strength allergy pills, which would be administered by a physician. Antihistamines can be taken as pills, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops, depending on where your respiratory allergy symptoms present themselves.
Allergic reactions to food can present some of the same initial symptoms as respiratory allergies, but can quickly progress to much more serious side effects, including anaphylaxis. If you’ve been exposed to a food allergen, symptoms may include itching in the mouth, swelling of the lips, hives or rash, gastrointestinal symptoms like stomachache, vomiting, or diarrhea, and/or tightening of the throat and trouble breathing.
Preventing Food-Related Allergic Reactions
- Find an allergist and have them run a simple allergen test to determine your food allergies and their severity.
- If you know you are allergic to certain foods, always check food labels and ingredients, including checking for hidden triggers, or additives that are known allergens, such as yellow food dye No. 5, “natural” red dye, and gum arabic.
- When eliminating foods from your diet, be sure to find alternate sources of nutrients. For example, if you cannot eat dairy foods, replace with other foods high in calcium or take calcium supplements.
Food Allergy Treatment
Mild allergic reactions can include rash, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes. If you experience severe itching of the eyes or face that, within minutes, progresses to more serious symptoms or a rash on other parts of the body, your reaction requires immediate medical attention.
If you are aware of a severe food allergy, a licensed physician can prescribe a portable dose of epinephrine, a hormone which can reduce your initial response to an allergen, for you to keep in case of exposure to an allergen. In an emergency, you should always call 9-1-1 immediately.
Severe Allergic Reactions (Anaphylxaxis)
Anaphylaxis is a rare, life-threatening emergency in which the body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body. Allergy symptoms may begin with sudden itching of the eyes or face and within minutes progress to more serious symptoms, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Varying degrees of swelling that can make breathing and swallowing difficult
- Hives, especially those that spread to multiple parts of the body
- Abdominal pain
- Mental confusion or dizziness
- Angioedema, which is severe, generalized swelling of the face, neck, and/or extremities
If You Or A Family Member Is Experiencing Any Of The Above Symptoms Of A Serious Allergic Reaction, PLEASE CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.
Few things feel better than the summer sun after a long winter and rainy spring, but too much of this good thing can be dangerous. Physicians Prompt Care can help you understand the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent it, so you can enjoy every minute of your summer safely.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration often go hand in hand. Dehydration, which is a depletion or imbalance of fluids or electrolytes in the body, when coupled with extended exposure to sun or heat, can cause heat exhaustion.
PREVENTING HEAT EXHAUSTION AND DEHYDRATION
If you know you will be exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, take these steps to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration.
- Drink plenty of water. The general daily water intake recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day for women, and 12 8-ounce glasses a day for men. This guideline varies depending on the fluids a person is getting from food and other beverages, as well as their level of physical activity. As a rule, though, if you’re spending an extended period of time in high temperatures, you should consider eight glasses of water a day the minimum guideline.
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
- Cover up your skin from the sun as much as possible with clothing, hats, sun umbrellas, and always wear sunscreen. Sunburn or sunstroke can contribute to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Limit physical activity. When the heat index is high, be aware that excessive physical activity (and sweating) increases your risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
SIGNS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND DEHYDRATION
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle cramping
- Pale skin
- Profuse sweating or inability to sweat
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Decreased urine output
- Dark yellow or amber colored urine
- Fever higher than 103°F
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or abdominal pains
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
Although mild heat exhaustion and dehydration can be treated without a trip to urgent care, the symptoms aren’t something to be taken lightly. Without proper intervention, severe heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death. If your dehydration or heat exhaustion is severe, you may need a physician to administer IV fluids.
If you experience any of the severe heat exhaustion or dehydration symptoms listed above, or symptoms that persist greater than 30 minutes after self-treatment please contact Physicians Prompt Care in Tinley Park