Summer is a busy time for families to have fun. Unfortunately, germs do not take a break when the school year ends.
Southdale Pediatrics was voted Best Pediatric Practice in our Best of Edina 2019 readers’ choice survey.
When we think of cold, flu and illness, images of winter come to mind. But Lori Skallerud, M.D. at Southdale Pediatrics, says parents can’t let their guard down in the summer.
EDM: How can we keep healthy during the summer months?
Skallerud: Summer is a busy time for families to have fun. Unfortunately, germs do not take a break when the school year ends … Hand washing continues to be important even when the weather is warm. Toddlers are at increased risk of diarrheal illness from drinking water from public wading pools. It is best to discourage allowing your child to drink the water that they play in.
EDM: What do you recommend parents do to keep kids safe from the sun, heat and insects?
Skallerud: It’s important to be plan ahead. Be sure to purchase new sun block for this season. I recommend mineral-only sun protection products. They should be applied before your child goes outside and reapplied every few hours. It’s a good idea to wash them off at the end of the day. Be sure to dress in cool cotton clothing. Encourage drinking water throughout the day and particularly if they’re involved in sports activities, be sure that they hydrate before, during and after their activity. Hot summer days can put children at risk for heat-related illness.
Living in Minnesota means that we need to protect our children from mosquitoes and other insects. Use insect repellent within the fabric [REI and other outdoor stores in the area sell clothing for children]. The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] recommends that insect repellents with more than 30 percent Deet should not be used on children and they should never be used on children 2 months of age or younger. Repellents should always be washed off at the end of the day.
EDM: Summer vacation is a time of relaxation, but should parents still enforce the same bedtime as the school year? What about screen time?
Skallerud: Summer is a wonderful time for families to escape the rigid school year schedule, but children of all ages benefit from regular sleep. Sleep is vital to keep children healthy. Children and adolescents have more free time in the summer, which puts them at risk for increased screen time. Challenge your family to be off screens as much as possible this summer. The AAP recommends limiting screen time to less than two hours a day for school-aged children. For preschoolers less than an hour.