Expert Care by ER Physicians

A Rundown on Summer Health Issues in Minnesota

Posted by The Urgency Room on Thursday, September 13, 2018
Keywords: Heatstroke Dehydration Sunburn Bug Bites Poison Ivy Food Poisoning

It’s finally summer; the perfect time of year to head to the beach, take a dip in the pool, or enjoy a barbecue. Summer is a great time to see family and catch up with friends, and the last thing you want is to get sick. Unfortunately, several health issues start popping up in the summer, especially here in Minnesota. Over the course of the summer, we help to treat and manage summer-time health issues for many families and individuals across the greater Minneapolis area; including Eagan, Vadnais Heights, and Woodbury. Keep reading to learn about common summer illnesses and how to avoid them.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke occurs when your body’s temperature elevates dramatically. It most frequently occurs during the hot summer months and is often paired with dehydration. Symptoms of heatstroke include confusion, dizziness, lack of sweating, irritability, seizure and in extreme cases, coma. Heatstroke is highly dangerous and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Avoiding heatstroke is all about making careful choices when you’re out in the summer. Do not participate in strenuous activities like hiking or running if it is extremely hot outside, so pay careful attention to the weather alerts in your area and be on the lookout for heat advisories. Be sure to stay properly hydrated if you’re going to be out in the heat for any length of time. This includes time spent in the water. Infants and the elderly are particularly susceptible to heatstroke and should take extra precaution. If you suspect someone is experiencing heatstroke, call 911 and try to cool their body down.

Dehydration

Dehydration can be much more dangerous than it sounds. It occurs when our bodies do not have enough water to function correctly. Over 50% of the human body is made up of water, making it essential to our health. Dehydration can be mild or severe. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, sleepiness, headaches, dizziness, dry skin, and decreased or off-color urination.

The easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of water. If it’s hot outside, or you are planning on some physical activity, you should drink even more water. Waiting until you are thirsty to drink water will increase the likelihood that you will suffer from dehydration. And, don’t forget that you need to stay hydrated even while spending time in the water.

Sunburn

We have probably all experienced a sunburn at some point in our lives. Sunburns occur when we spend extended periods of time outside in the sun without skin protection. Skin damage is caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Sunburn symptoms included reddened and irritated skin, swelling, or blisters. More extreme cases may cause fevers, nausea, and weakness.

The severity of a potential sunburn will vary based on skin type and circumstances. The best way to avoid sunburn is to always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, wear protective clothing and seek shade in intervals to give your body a break. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen, which will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going for a swim, make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant. Re-apply regularly for long-lasting protection.

Bug Bites

You love spending the long summer days outside, but regrettably, so do bugs. Who hasn’t been bit by a mosquito in the summer? Bug bite symptoms can vary depending on the insect. Mosquito bites usually cause a red bump and itching at the site. Ant bites can cause a rash and will result in itching and stinging. Chigger bites will cause an itchy skin rash. Tick bites can cause several problems.  First, sometimes the tick will burrow deeply into the skin and can be difficult to remove. Secondly, some kinds of ticks (deer ticks in Minnesota), can spread dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses. It is important to remove the tick as soon as you notice it. The longer the tick is attached, the more likely to spread disease. Often times, ticks can be removed at home in much the same manner as a splinter but if you have trouble removing the tick completely, see a medical professional quickly.

Summer is the time when many irritating or dangerous bugs come outside to explore. Avoiding bug bites is all about prevention. Use an EPA-approved bug repellant any time you are going to be outdoors or around bugs. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes is another way to help avoid contact with bugs when exploring the Minnesota wilderness. Bug bites are typically a minor problem that resolve on their own.  But, sometimes more serious problems can arise. Bug bites can turn into a more serious problem such as a skin infection or allergic reaction.  Some signs of more serious problems include increasing pain, increasing swelling or redness that spreads to the skin around the bug bite, you need to be evaluated by a medical provider right away. Be sure to treat your bug bite immediately and If this were to happen, come visit one of our medical professionals at any of our Minneapolis locations if your symptoms worsen.

Poison Ivy

There is no better time of year to head outdoors than in the summer. Camping, hiking, and climbing are all beautiful getaways in the warm weather. Unfortunately, summer adventures in the woods can be dampened by some pesky intruders; poisonous plants. It is common to run across poisonous plants when out on an adventure, and poison ivy is the most common. Symptoms of poison ivy include rash, redness, skin irritation, swelling, and blisters.

Learn how to identify poison ivy, so you know when to avoid it. A poison ivy rash is a reaction to an oily resin found on the plant called urushiol. Do not touch the plant or come into contact with the urushiol. If you find poison ivy around your home, remove or kill the plant using proper precautions. Be sure to clean off anything that may have come into contact with the plant, including clothes and pet’s fur. To be safe, always remember the saying “three leaves let it be!”

Food Poisoning

Barbecuing is a summer staple and a great way to spend time with family and friends. But beware, dangerous bacteria thrive if you do not properly handle food when barbecuing. Viruses like salmonella are common when food is left sitting out or is reheated for leftovers. Symptoms of food poisoning include a stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes a headache.

To help avoid food poisoning, keep an eye on how long food has been sitting outside. If it’s been two hours, the food needs to go into the fridge. If it’s 90 degrees or warmer outside, only leave food sitting out for one hour. If you are handling food, be sure to keep your hands clean. Wipe down and sanitize any surfaces that will come into contact with your food. Utilize meat thermometers to ensure that your food has been cooked thoroughly and use clean plants for serving, not the same ones used to transport the raw food.

Enjoy Summer with The Urgency Room

After having survived another long Minnesota winter you’re due for your days in the sun. This summer, we want you to be able to enjoy all of your favorite activities, that’s why we’re open seven days a week, all year long, from 8am-10pm. This way, if your summer plans do suffer a hiccup from unexpected illness or injury, we can get you feeling better and back enjoying the sun in no time.

Loading Comments. Please Wait...

Please login to post a reply.