Letting Your Child Spend Time Outdoors Safely This Summer

parent and kid

The United States is on its way to building herd immunity and stopping the spread of COVID-19. Merely half a year after the nation started its vaccination campaign against the ongoing pandemic, transmission has slowed down, and rates of new infections have gone down significantly from their peak of over 300,000 cases in one day in January 2021.

Life is slowly but steadily going back to normal. Some states have rolled back mask mandates, allowing people vaccinated to no longer wear face masks in outdoor venues. Restaurants are ready to welcome patrons again for indoor dining. Many businesses have also started talking about going back to the office.

Last year was largely spent indoors. It has caused distress among the population, especially children. Now that it is safer and restrictions are being lifted, it is time to let the young generation have their time under the sun. Being outdoors is beneficial for their development and overall well-being.

However, it is still necessary to take precautions. Children must be protected from the dangers that come with stepping out of the house this summer.

Beware of Bugs that Bite

But, unfortunately, it is also the time when bugs wake up from their slumber with a thirst for blood. One bite from these bugs can transmit disease-causing viruses and bacteria.

Right now, one of the main concerns is a species of mosquito that has hailed from Southeast Asia but has been spotted in many states across the U.S. The Asian tiger mosquito is known for its single white stripe down its head and back. It is most active during the daytime, from dawn to dusk. What makes it so dangerous is the variety of diseases it can transmit.

In Southeast Asia, the Asian tiger mosquito is known to spread dengue, a deadly infection that takes the lives of about 22,000 people a year. Symptoms of dengue include headache, eye pain, muscle pain, bone and joint pain, rashes, nausea, and fever. In severe cases, the patient may experience belly pain, bleeding from the nose and gums, blood in the vomit or stool, and lethargy.

The Asian tiger mosquito can also transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile virus, Zika virus, and Chikungunya. Parents must protect their children by taking steps to control the mosquito population within their backyard. Professionals will come to your home, assess the risks, and apply a solution that will kill mosquitoes and prevent them from reappearing in the future.

In addition, children should always apply insect repellents every time they go out of the house. Choose products that have applied and been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Be careful with insect repellents that are being marketed as “natural.” These products do not require registration with the EPA. Therefore, efficacy is not guaranteed.

mosquito on skin

Too Much Fun Under the Sun

While children need to spend time outdoors exploring and getting some physical activity, they need to limit their exposure to the sun. Children should always apply sunscreen when playing outdoors. Most families associate sunscreens with going to the beach. However, wearing sunscreen should be done regularly.

Sunburns are very painful. Minor cases will only cause redness and tenderness. However, in more severe cases, blistering will occur. The person will also experience fever, chills, general weakness, and nausea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, the person will have low blood pressure and even faint. Both severe and extreme cases need immediate medical care.

Moreover, having sunburn regularly is a serious risk factor for skin cancer, the most common type of cancer.

Make sure to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will weaken UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Get at least 15 or 30 SPF.

COVID-19 Still Spreading

However, while many American adults have been vaccinated, children have yet to take the shot. They are still vulnerable to COVID-19.

Being outdoors significantly cuts their risk of catching the virus. While children generally do not develop serious symptoms even if they test positive for COVID-19, there is a possibility that they will become very ill and end up in the hospital. It is important, therefore, that children still follow health and safety standards. They still should wear a mask when indoors or when interacting with another person outside of their household. They still should observe social distancing as much as possible.

Spending time outdoors is important to young children’s growth and well-being. However, there are dangers beyond the four corners of the home. It is up to parents to protect their children from these health and safety risks while allowing them to play under the sun.

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