August 10, 2012
For every warm, sunny summer week there’s always a stormy day. And often the changing foliage and spike in temperatures can cause some unique injuries and illnesses. This article will teach you the difference between seasonal allergies, and serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Symptom 1: Itchy, Red Rashes on the Body
Summertime is all about spending time in the great outdoors! Unfortunately, it is also the ideal time for hungry insects to get under our skin – literally! While isolated red, itchy marks over the body can indicate insect bites, larger areas of redness on the skin can be a sign of an allergic reaction. This is especially true if you’ve been exposed to a new lotion, perfume, sunscreen, and sometimes even carpeting. If you think the symptoms you are experiencing could be a result of a new product or other exposure, be sure to take these steps:
- Avoid additional exposure
- Try a hydrocortisone cream to take care of any itchiness
- If symptoms persist, try an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl)
- Don’t scratch! It will only make your symptoms worse
Most importantly, head to the hospital if you notice any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the throat/a closing sensation
- Tongue swelling, voice changes or drooling
If you have spent any significant time outdoors around plants, you may notice a weeping rash – i.e. fluid is draining from the rash. This could be poison ivy! In this scenario be sure to keep your hands clean and away from your eyes. You may be contagious! Oatmeal baths are a helpful way to quell symptoms of itchiness, but if the rash and/or redness persist, consult a doctor.
Symptom 2: Muscular Pain Resulting in Stiff or Achy Joints
Summer is often a time for people to get in shape and show off their beach bodies. If you are one of the many that has beefed up their exercise routine to look and feel better, you may be experiencing increased muscle pain.
This pain could be an indication that your muscles are not being fed an adequate amount of oxygen. It is extremely important to properly nourish and hydrate the body before physical activity.
In addition to nutrition and hydration, be sure to listen to your body. If you’re experiencing pain over a pro-longed period of time, you could have a pulled muscle. To avoid this injury, be sure to stretch routinely before exercise. Once the symptoms are already at play, use Ibuprofen as directed by your doctor for the pain. Additionally, be sure to apply R.I.C.E:
- Rest – give your muscles a break after an intense workout
- Ice – apply a cold compress to aching muscles
- Compress – try wrapping ice in a towel and apply to your achy areas for about 20 minutes every 2 hours (as needed)
- Elevate – put your feet up and relax! Elevation helps to minimize swelling
Achy muscle and joint pains unrelated to exercise could be a result of something more serious and should be seen by a doctor immediately. In serious cases these pains can be a result of Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
Symptom 3: Chest Pains, Shortness of Breath, Lightheadedness
If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath when participating in your daily summer activities, it is important to consider any family history of heart or lung conditions. If there is no family history, the discomfort could be the result of inflammation in the symptomatic area. Take Ibuprofen as directed by a doctor, and if symptoms persist consult a professional.
For middle-aged people or smokers experiencing these symptoms, it could be a result of a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Serious symptoms that indicate the need for immediate hospital assistance include sweating, difficulty breathing, nausea, pain in the jaw, arms or back and an irregular heartbeat. If these symptoms occur, be sure to consult a doctor immediately.
In higher temperatures, heat exhaustion is a very relevant concern. Symptoms such as lightheadedness or extreme fatigue should be treated with immediate hydration, rest, and a lowering of the body temperature. This can be accomplished by stepping indoors into the air conditioning, using a cool compress, and spraying your body with cool water. If these symptoms persist, be sure to seek emergency medical attention.
Symptom 4: Abdominal Pain
Family BBQ’s are the best. But sometimes, foods typical of potluck style dinners can contain ingredients such as mayonnaise, which require careful refrigeration (which we all know doesn’t always happen!). If you experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating mayonnaise-based products, meats or other foods that have stayed out in the hot sun for too long, you may be a victim of food poisoning.
To relieve symptoms of abdominal pain, you can use over-the-counter bismuth subsalicylate (better known as “Pepto-Bismol”). Be sure to only use this product with easy to digest foods and lots of water. Soup broths, bread-based products and non-greasy foods are always good options.
Food poisoning should never last more than a day, so if these symptoms persist be sure to consult a doctor.
More Strange Conditions:
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.