Summertime means spending more time outdoors and being active, taking advantage of warmer weather and time away from school and work. All that added fun and adventure can mean more opportunities for injuries, illnesses, and unexpected accidents, though.
Here are some of the most common reasons for summer urgent care visits, along with tips on being safer throughout the summer season.
1. Severe Sunburns
If you’re in Southern California, you’re likely already practicing good sun health, applying (and reapplying) your sunscreen when you’re spending time at the beach or pool. Appropriate sun care is that much more important in the summer months. The sun is stronger, and it’s easier to get distracted by outdoor activities and forget how long it has been since you reapplied.
If you find yourself suffering from a bad sunburn, you may need to seek urgent care services, especially if you notice blistering. Severe pain from sunburn is also a sign that you may not be able to relieve your burn on your own, and it’s time to seek sunburn treatment.
To prevent severe sunburns:
- Wear sunscreen daily, even when it’s overcast.
- Reapply your sunscreen every few hours, especially after time in the water or after heavy exercise or play.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and a light layer if spending time outside during the sun’s midday peak hours.
- Seek shade during hot afternoons. If you’re not able to find shade, bring your own. Umbrellas can work on sunny days, too.
2. Sports Injuries
You don’t have to be an athlete or part of a summer sports league to suffer from summertime sports injuries. With more time spent outdoors, it’s only natural that there’s an increased chance something could go wrong while participating in an athletic activity.
Urgent care centers see increases in people coming in with a sprained or broken bone, fractures, and all kinds of cuts and scrapes from outdoor activities. Water-related injuries are also more commonplace, especially around California’s beach towns.
Children are particularly prone to summertime sports injuries. School is out, outdoor play is in, and they’re simply exposed to more chances for injuries that could require medical care.
To stay as safe as possible when participating in summertime sports:
- Use safety equipment. Wear helmets, pads, and any other equipment to protect you while you play.
- Know where help is. It can be as simple as knowing where to access a first aid kit for minor cuts and scrapes or where you can turn to if you or a loved one has an injury while playing outside.
- If the activity is hiking or spending time in the water, use the buddy system. If something goes wrong, you’ll have someone with you to seek help.
3. Heat Stroke & Dehydration
It can be challenging to keep track of your water intake while you’re having a great time out in the sun. That’s what makes it so easy to become dehydrated and suffer the effects of heat exhaustion or the more serious heatstroke.
Left untreated, heatstroke can quickly become life-threatening. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of heatstroke, seek urgent care locations in Los Angeles immediately.
To keep yourself safe from heatstroke and dehydration:
- Stay well-hydrated when spending time outside in the summer. Bring water with you wherever you go.
- If exercising or participating in sports in the summer months, take water breaks.
- Know the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. If you’re feeling faint, listen to your body and take a break. Drink some water and find some shade.
- On sweltering days, try to avoid time outside during peak hours for summertime heat. The sun is typically at its hottest from 10 am-2 pm.
4. Cooking/Barbecue Burns
Summer season is grilling season, and with that comes the potential for burns from those grills and cooktops. It’s best to practice appropriate precautions around a hot grill, but accidents do happen.
If you or a loved one suffers a burn from a grill, immerse the affected area in cold water to reduce any immediate pain and cool down the site. Gently clean the area, then bandage the burn to prevent infection.
You’ll want to seek additional medical help if the burn starts to blister, is a large burn or near a sensitive area like your face, or involves a senior or a child. If you’re just unsure whether you need to seek immediate assistance, err on the side of caution, go in anyway, or seek out virtual care to talk through your options with a healthcare provider.
To keep yourself safe during grilling season:
- Use outdoor grills outside. Outdoor grills should never be used indoors, not because of the burn potential but because of the carbon monoxide.
- Take extra care when lighting the grill or lifting grill lids during cooking.
- Use grilling tools. Keep your hands safe with oven mitts, and use tongs or spatulas made for outdoor grilling.
- Turn your grill off completely when you’re done cooking, and allow it to cool before handling it further. Take care of any hot materials appropriately.
- Keep an eye on children that may accidentally touch a hot grill.
Another potential hazard of grilling is the potential for food poisoning. Food left out too long in the hot sun can harbor any number of bacteria, so it’s crucial that barbecues include proper refrigeration and other common-sense food safety tips to keep everyone safe.
5. Exacerbated Allergies
It isn’t only springtime blooms that exacerbate bad allergies. Allergy sufferers know that summer is a hot time for certain pollens and grasses to fill the air. In summers following wet winters, Californians may experience super blooms that last into the summer months.
Insect bites, including bee stings, can also become a cause for concern in people with allergies. Those with known bee sting allergies likely have access to epinephrine, but if you or anyone around you is showing signs of anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention or visit urgent care in Los Angeles.
To stay safe from summer allergies:
- Be prepared with epinephrine, Benadryl, or inhalers as a precaution if you have known allergies.
- If allergies are related to pollens and blooming flowers, follow available forecasts. Pollen forecasts are common across California, and higher temperatures can make allergies worse.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any shortness of breath, a severe rash or hives, even worsening allergy symptoms.
Summertime is the perfect time for enjoying the outdoors. With the right safety precautions, you can enjoy a summer full of making memories that don’t involve visiting urgent care this summer. If you find yourself in a situation where you do need urgent care, even an urgent care virtual visit, don’t delay.
Book online and talk to a healthcare provider so you can return to enjoying your summer as quickly as possible.