Summer Tips

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Bee Stings

For ordinary bee stings that do not cause an allergic reaction,home treatment is usually enough. Multiple stings or an allergic reaction, on the other hand, can be a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Please contact your doctor or go to the closest emergency room if you are having an anaphylactic attack.

If a bee stings you or your child, the following steps may help ease the swelling and itching often associated with large local reactions:

  • If you can, remove the stinger as soon as possible, such asby scraping it off with a fingernail. Don't try to remove a stinger below the skin surface. A stinger may not be present, as Only bees leave their stingers. Other stinging insects, such as wasps, do not.
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to help ease discomfort.
  • If the sting is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease redness, itching, or swelling.
  • If itching or swelling is bothersome, take an oral antihistamine that contains diphenhydramine (Benadryl) chlorpheniramine.
  • Avoid scratching the sting area. This will worsen itching and swelling and increase your risk of infection.
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Poison Ivy

Poison ivy treatments are usually limited to self-care methods. And the rash typically goes away on its own in two to three weeks. But the itching can be hard to deal with and make it difficult to sleep. If you scratch your blisters, they may become infected.

Here are some steps you can take to help control the itching:

  • Apply an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream for the first few days.
  • Apply calamine lotion.
  • Take oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), which may also help you sleep better.
  • Soak in a cool-water bath containing an oatmeal-based bath product (Aveeno).
  • Place cool, wet compresses on the affected area for 15 to 30minutes several times a day.

You probably won't need medical treatment for a poison ivy rash unless it spreads widely, persists for more than a few weeks or becomes infected. If you're concerned, you'll probably first see your primary care doctor. He or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders.

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Sunburn

  • If you've been sunburned, it may take two days for the severity of your burn to become evident, and several more days for your skin to begin to heal. Sunburn treatment doesn't heal your skin, but it can offer relief by reducing pain, swelling, and discomfort. If at-home care doesn't help or your sunburn is very severe, your doctor may offer additional treatments for sunburn relief.
  • Take a pain reliever.If needed, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) may help control the pain and swelling of sunburn, especially if you take it soon after sun exposure. Some types of pain relievers may be applied to your skin as gels.
  • Cool the skin. Apply to the affected skin a clean towel dampened with cool tap water. Or take a cool bath.
  • Apply a moisturizer, lotion, or gel. An aloe vera lotion or gel or calamine lotion may be soothing.
  • Drink water to prevent dehydration.
  • Leave small blisters alone. Don't break them if they are smaller than your little fingernail. If a blister does break, clean it with mild soap and water. Then use an antibiotic ointment on the wound and cover it with a nonstick bandage. If you develop a rash at the site, stop using the ointment, and see a doctor.
  • Treat peeling skin gently. Within a few days, the affected area may begin to peel. This is your body's way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. While your skin is peeling, continue to moisturize.
  • For severe sunburn, try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, which may ease the discomfort.
  • Protect your sunburn from further sun exposure. Stay out of the sun, or protect yourself from sunlight when you go outside.
  • Avoid applying '-caine' products, such as benzocaine.Such creams may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. Benzocaine has been linked to a rare but potentially deadly condition that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry (methemoglobinemia). Don't use benzocaine in children younger than age 2 without supervision from a health care professional. If you're an adult, never use more than the recommended dose and consider talking with your doctor before using it.