16 Jul 2019

Summer First Aid

With summer here, we spend more time outside, which can lead to sunburns, heat rashes, bites and burns. Here is our Pharmacist advice for Summer time first aid:

Heat Rash/ Prickly Heat

Heat rash (aka prickly heat) can affect all ages during hot, humid weather. Heat rash develops when blocked pores (sweat ducts) trap sweat under your skin. Symptoms range from prickly or intensely itchy skin, superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Heat rash can clear on its own, but here are some tips to treat & prevent.

Treatment:

  • Antihistamines like Cetrine tablets for adults and Zirtek liquid for children can be used to reduce symptoms of itching along with a calamine lotion.

  • Aloe vera gel or after sun lotion can cool and soothe the affected areas and if kept in the fridge can be extra cooling on the skin.

  • A cold or lukewarm shower can relieve symptoms.

  • For adults, topical steroids can be used in severe cases on recommendation from your Pharmacist

  • Avoid using creams and ointments that contain petroleum or mineral oil, which can block pores further.

Prevention:

Wear loose cotton clothing and avoid wearing layers on warmer days. Drink loads of water and remain in the shade at the hottest time of the day or use air conditioning in your car, office or home

Sun Burn

Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much exposure to UV light can make your skin red and painful. This may later lead to peeling or blistering. A cloudy sky or breeze may make you feel cooler, but sunlight can still get through and damage your skin.

Treatment:

  • Painkillers (like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen) can be used to relieve the pain and inflammation

  • First aid cooling gels like Medicare Burn Gel, can help soothe burns.

  • After sun treatments like Nivea After Sun Lotion act to replenish moisture in the skin and may help relieve symptoms.

  • Applying a cold compress, such as a cold flannel, to the area affected will also cool your skin.

  • Drinking plenty of fluids will help you cool down and will replace lost water from sweating.

Prevention:

  • Reduce time spent in the sun during the hottest time of the day 11am to 3pm. Cover up using sunglasses, hats and umbrellas where possible.

  • Always apply a sunscreen. All sunscreen products should be applied to dry skin 20 minutes before sun exposure reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or excessive sweating to ensure maximum protection.

Bug Bites & Stings
(mosquitos, bees, wasps)

Treating bee and wasp stings depends on their severity. Most stings will require minor treatment.

Bee or Wasp Sting Treatment:

  • Remove any stingers immediately where possible.

  • Apply ice to the site for some mild relief. Try not to scratch as this can cause more swelling and increase chance of infection. If a blister develops, do not pop it.

  • Wash with soap and water. Placing Cortopin hydrocortisone cream (12 years plus) to help relieve redness, itching, and swelling. Alternatively, Anthisan cream for children.

  • Taking an antihistamine such as Cetrine or Piriton can help with itching and swelling.

  • Take painkillers like Ibuprofen or Paracetamol for pain relief or inflammation.

Most stings require no additional medical care, however if you experience shortness of breath, spreading rash, nausea, headache please seek help immediately.

People who are allergic to bee or wasp’s stings should always seek help immediately and always carry their adrenaline pen with them.

Top Tip: It’s a good idea to check the date of your adrenaline pens regularly and have a spare set.

To prevent insect bites:

You can use an insect repellent like Jungle Formula, which is scientifically proven to protect and repel against biting insects and mosquitos.

Dehydration

Dehydration can occur at any age especially in periods of hot weather where one does not drink enough water. It can be brought on by exercise, tummy upset (diarrohea or vomiting), illness causing high temperature, pregnancy or medication whereby the water intake does not meet the physical need.

If you have Diarrohea or vomiting it is important to treat these as soon as possible to prevent dehydration. Over consumption of alcohol can also lead to dehydration.

Prevention:

Aim to drink 8 average size glasses of water a day especially in summer months and in warmer climates. Avoid strenuous exercise at warmer times of the day and rehydrate before and after physical activity.

Try Oxylent a 5 in 1 daily multivitamin effervescent drink which can deliver your daily multi-vitamin and mineral requirements as well as keeping you hydrated due to its electrolyte content.

Treatment:

The best way to treat dehydration is to rehydrate the body by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, diluted squash or diluted fruit juice. A sweet drink can help to replace lost sugar, and a salty snack can help to replace lost salt. Other alternatives include sports drinks and ice pops. For small children it can be helpful to give small amounts via a spoon or syringe.

Diorylyte is a rehydration sachet which comes in a Natural, Citrus and blackcurrant flavour. It’s suitable for adults and children over 2 years. The dosing varies depending on age. You may be required to take more initially to ensure early and full volume repletion of fluids in the body.

Swimmers Ear

This is an infection of the ear canal running from the outside of the ear to the eardrum. It affects children and teenagers mostly. It can also affect those with eczema or excessive ear wax. It’s often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, or bathing creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth. Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in your ears also can lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin lining your ear canal. Symptoms can include itching, redness, discharge, pain, and decreased or muffled hearing.

Prevention:

  • Keep your ears clean and dry – always dry the ears after showering and swimming. Dry only your outer ear, wiping it slowly and gently with a soft towel or cloth. Tip your head to the side to help water drain from your ear canal. You can dry your ears with a blow dryer if you put it on the lowest setting and hold it at least a foot (about 0.3 meters) away from the ear.

  • Avoid putting objects like cotton buds and other foreign objects into the ears.

  • Ear plugs - use swimmer’s earplugs when swimming to prevent water getting into the ear canal.

  • Be extra careful to protect the ears after surgery or infection.

  • Protect your ears from irritants like hair sprays and hair dyes.

Treatment:

Pain can be treated using Paracetamol or Ibuprofen products (Buplex or Nurofen). Waxy ears can be treated using ear drops like Exterol, Tropex or Cerumol. Cerumol Olive oil formula can be used to treat dry flaky ears and soften wax to prevent water getting trapped in the ear. Audiclean is a safe and natural way of promoting ear canal hygeine. It can be used to wash away wax and dirt in the ear canal and prevent formation of wax plugs in the ear which can trap water.

* Always read the label. Always speak to the Pharmacist about the best treatment options for you.