It's summertime and the living is, well, too easy. Your kids roll out of bed at the time the lunch bell rings. At the pool snack bar, lunch money becomes ice cream money. And half the day is spent in front of a screen: phone, TV or otherwise. And, one of the many pleasures of summer in Idaho is being able to spend more time outdoors. Summer is all fun and games, though, until someone gets a sunburn or slips by the pool.
Use this guide to ensure you and your family stay healthy and safe as you enjoy this time of year.
Problem: Your children have a seemingly insatiable appetite for junk food.
Solution: Cut down on unhealthy foods, but don’t cut them out of kids’ diets completely. “A recent study showed that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who only drank juice once per month,” says Dr. Martin. Swap cookies for fruit as a snack, or add an ever-growing salad to the dinner plate.
Problem: Nothing can come between your kids and the TV.
Solution: Set the limit recommended by the AAP: Children should consume no more than two hours of entertainment media per day. “There can be a very set time when it’s allowed,” Dr. Martin says, “and the rest of the time, it’s just not allowed.” Separate kids from screens during dinner and before bedtime (the light can stimulate the brain, keeping them awake). To replace TV time, round up the family for a board game or a neighborhood walk.
Problem: What sleep schedule? Your teenager could be awake or asleep at any given hour.
Solution: Make sure kids get the sleep they need to support their health: at least 10 hours for school-age children and nine to 10 hours for teenagers. Teens sometimes feel like they are biologically programmed to stay up late, so it’s OK if their summer hours slide a bit. But in the weeks before school starts, set the alarm clock earlier each day to ensure they’re well-rested for their first day.
Problem: Protecting kids from the harmful rays of the sun.
Solution: Make sure everyone liberally applies sunscreen about 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. And don’t forget the ears, scalp, back of neck, and the tops of the feet. Bingham Memorial Dermatologists say they have seen some of the worst burns in these areas. Because the sun emits two types of harmful rays--UVA and UVB--the sunscreen you buy should provide “broad-spectrum” protection against both. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater with the physical UV blockers zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
And, reapply, reapply, reapply, especially for active children. Reapplying sunscreen may be the most neglected step in the sun-safety regimen. Don’t just put it on and forget it. Sunscreen should be reapplied about every two hours while kids are outdoors, and every 45 minutes if they’re swimming.
Problem: A dip in the pool, lake or river may be a great way to escape rising temperatures, yet thousands of Americans drown each year.
Solution: Be sure to follow these water-safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Make sure young children wear flotation devices, and keep an eye on them when they are in or near water.
- Avoid swallowing the water. Bacteria and chemicals in pools can make you sick.
- Take a swim lesson. Children as young as 4 can benefit from lessons.
- Use the buddy system. Never swim alone or in unsupervised areas.
Additionally, to avoid poolside slips, keep the pool deck clean and clear of pool toys, which are trip hazards.
Wash abrasions really good with soap and water. If you can’t use the extremity without pain, get to an ER or urgent care. If someone hits their head and there’s even a momentary loss of consciousness, call 911.
Bingham Memorial is Here For You and Your Famil
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Bingham Memorial Family Medicine has a growing number of Family Medicine Specialists throughout Eastern Idaho. With offices in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Shelley, high-quality and compassionate medical care is always nearby and convenient.
Call (208) 785-4100 to find an office near you or visit BinghamMemorial.org/Family-Medicine
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Mon. to Thurs.: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat. & Sun.: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
1350 Parkway Dr.
Blackfoot, ID 83221
Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.