You need a break as you begin the drive home after the long day at the park. The annual summer family reunion picnic was great fun.
But right now it seems that everyone in the family minivan has a concern or complaint. Your spouse is whining about redness and burning on his neck and arms. Granny feels sick to her stomach and has already vomited into a trash bag in the back seat. Your 10-year-old son can't stop scratching the bumps scattered all over his legs.
Uncle Rob looks a little pale and complains that he feels a little dizzy, especially when he tries to get up. And your 8-year-old old daughter noticed a black spot on her arm that won't brush off.
You quietly wonder if you could get a family discount by dropping the entire family off at the nearest emergency medical facility and then finding the nearest day spa for a two-hour foot massage.
Instead, you start asking some questions and putting the pieces together to solve these common Summertime medical ailments.
1. You realize your spouse spent the entire day outdoors with a short sleeve shirt, no hat, and no protection from the powerful Summer sun. You had told him to wear sun screen with at least SPF 35 and reapply after a couple of hours to maximize UV protection. (He certainly doesn't remember you ever mentioning anything about sunscreen.)
You now politely suggest he has a sunburn. He will have to suffer for a couple days with cold compresses and some anti inflammatory pain medications. You plan not to say "I told you so." unless he keeps whining.
2. Your mother developed an upset stomach with vomiting. (The car smells great, by the way.) She does admit eating a bunch of Aunt Jean's deviled eggs that had been sitting on the warm picnic table for a while.
Although some food poisoning might not take effect until the next day, certain bacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within hours of ingestion.
Everyone riding in the smelly car had learned their lesson about washing hands and keeping food cool to prevent food poisoning in the Summer heat.
You advise her to try to drink plenty of fluids and watch for more symptoms.
3. The itchy red spots all over your son's legs turned out to be mesquito bites. If he had just listened to you earlier when you had advised: " Spray yourself with the mesquito spray before you go hiking in the woods." He claims his sister left the spray at home. "Besides, it smells like flowers." he said.
You know that a spray containing "DEET" prevents these bites. Now you tell him to try not to scratch and then consider some cream with hydrocortisone to ease the discomfort.
4. Uncle Rob doesn't know why he feels bad. He said he just sat in a chair for most of the day. He began feeling bad after the big card game. When asked if he drank any fluids during the hot day, he grinned and replied: "Plenty of beer."
You suggest to him that drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages can help prevent dehydration and dizziness on hot days.
Luckily, you have a thermos full of cold water in the back of the van to start getting Uncle Rob feeling better.
5. One more concern from the back of the car...One more family member to diagnosis...
The little black spot on your daughter's arm didn't fall off. When the car is stopped safely on the side of the road, you look closely at her arm to see some tiny legs on that spot.
It was an actual tick having a snack on your daughter's skin. You carefully remove the tick with tweezers, and you make sure you dispose of the unwanted guest. You plan to watch her arm closely for a rash or redness around the area. You do feel better knowing this tick was larger than the deer ticks that carry most diseases. You are glad the tick was not attached for very long ( it takes at least 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease).
You finally get everyone home and the kids in bed. One day of summer down, and you really need that foot massage.
Please note to contact your health care provider for specific advice for any questions or symptoms that cause concern for you and your family. Enjoy a safe healthy summer season.