We reached out to our doctors and they shared the three most common reasons people come for emergency care in the summer: swimmer’s ear, heat stroke, tick bites and sunburn.
Follow these tips to stay healthy this summer.
Swimmer’s ear is a painful infection of the outer ear canal, caused by water entering and remaining in the ear.
- The ears are clogged or itchy.
- The ear canal becomes red or swollen.
- Milky fluid is leaking from your ear.
- The ear is painful to the touch.
How to avoid swimmer’s ear:
- Try to keep your ears as dry as possible.
- Use earplugs when swimming.
- After swimming or showering, gently tilt and shake your head to dislodge water.
- Use a hair dryer on low heat, hold it about 30cm from your ear and blow hot air towards your ear.
- If you swim frequently, talk to your health care provider about drying ear drops, they may be an option for you.
If your ears are clogged or painful, don’t try to clean them yourself. Go to a local urgent care center at the first sign of pain to avoid infection.
Heatstroke is the most serious form of heat illness and is a life-threatening emergency. Heat stroke occurs when you are extremely exposed to the sun and cannot sweat enough to cool your body temperature.
- A body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher
- Confusion or difficulty thinking clearly
- Difficulty walking
- pass out
How to avoid heatstroke:
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated during outdoor activities.
- Bring an insulated water bottle with you when you leave the house.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Plan outdoor activities in the morning or evening, for the cooler times of the day.
- Never leave children or pets in a closed car on a hot or sunny day.
If you or someone close to you shows signs of heat stroke, go urgently for an evaluation. IV hydration may be required.
Whether you’re hiking or strolling through the park, spending time outdoors and in grassy areas carries a risk of tick bites.
Symptoms include: Rash, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint swelling and pain.
How to avoid tick bites:
- If entering a wooded area or lawn, wear long pants and high socks.
- After spending time outdoors, quickly remove your clothes and take a heavy shower.
- Spend more time checking your body for ticks, especially your ankles, groin, and behind your ears.
If you find a tick, weather permitting, head to your local urgent care center to get it removed as soon as possible. Many urgent care can send the tick for testing to determine if it carries the disease.
If you are unable to get emergency care immediately, you can try to remove the tick yourself. The best thing to do is to take pointed tweezers, get as close to your skin as possible and grab the tick’s head, then pull upwards, steadily but without jerking. The goal is to remove the entire tick, without leaving the head in your body.
Avoid unconventional removal methods like holding a match against the tick’s body or pouring alcohol on the tick
While these tips are here to save you from needing medical attention and taking advantage of the warmer weather, it’s important to maintain safe practices when out in the sun.
Severe sunburns can include: blistering or swelling of the skin, fever, nausea, dehydration, headache, heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
How to avoid severe sunburn:
- If possible, stay in the shade.
- Avoid peak sunlight hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- Always wear sunscreen; SPF 30 or higher.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts and pants.
If you have severe symptoms of sunburn, you should see a doctor. Urgent care treatment may include IV hydration and pain management with topical creams or oral medications.
Next steps and resources
The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.