Once summer hits, most parents think that they are in the clear in terms of illness. Although this can certainly be true in terms of colds and upper respiratory infections, summer still has its fair share of illnesses. In this blog, we will give you more information regarding two of the most common summer illnesses.
Seasonal allergies vs common cold
Seasonal allergies usually strike at the first signs of spring. This, however, also corresponds to lingering winter colds/illnesses. It can be tricky to figure out the difference. Right off, there are a few easy differences between seasonal allergies and common colds. One of the most significant is that a child will not develop a fever with seasonal allergies. In addition, most children with allergies exhibit a lingering runny nose that just never gets better as the days go by. One may see puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. Most common colds run their course in about 7-10 days. Seasonal allergies can last much longer. Sometimes it can be tricky to figure this out, even for your pediatrician. It is best to seek guidance from your doctor if your child isn’t improving after a week. Another general rule of seasonal allergies is that they rarely affect children under two years of age. There are some important behavioral and lifestyle changes if one does suspect allergies. The first would be to bathe your child every night. Pollen collects during the day on one’s clothes and hair. A nightly bath will rid the body of pollen so that your child is not sleeping in pollen all night. Secondly, it is most helpful to keep the inside environment as free from pollen as possible. It may seem discouraging to keep the windows shut on a breezy, beautiful spring day, but it will greatly benefit your child with allergies. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning and lowest after a soaking rain. Planning outdoor activities around these times (when able) may greatly benefit your child. Your doctor, especially an allergist, can be most helpful in determining what environmental factors may or may not play a role. Depending on the severity of a child’s seasonal allergies, different medications may be helpful.
Swimmer’s ear is a term used to describe an infection that occurs in your ear canal. The ear canal is the canal that runs from the outside to the eardrum. One of the most common causes for swimmer’s ear is frequent swimming. The water sits in the canal and creates a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow and create infection. The bacteria can create an infection in the skin of the canal. Usually swimmer’s ear makes it very painful to touch or to tug on the outside of the ear. This occurs because the inflamed ear canal gets distorted by tugging or touching, and the “pain cells” in the ear respond. Another word for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa. This is not the same thing as an otitis media. An otitis media (or middle ear infection) is caused by fluid that builds up in the middle ear and causes inflammation of the tympanic membrane (ear drum). Whereas an otitis media may be treated with oral antibiotics or observation, a swimmer’s ear is treated with antibiotic drops that are applied right to the inflamed ear canal. To help prevent swimmer’s ear, one should try to dry her ears very well after swimming. Rub a towel around the outside of your ear and tip your head to one side to help drain excess water. Do not stick q-tips or other objects in your ear. One may also use a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. This solution can help promote drying and prevent bacterial build up.