With everyone hanging out around the house and the yard, there are still some springtime regulars to be on the lookout for. Especially with the weather heating up poison ivy, poison oak and ticks are out and spreading. We want everyone to be able to enjoy going outside safely as much as possible during this time of social distancing.
Poison Ivy & Oak and What To Look For:
Being outside is so much more fun than being stuck inside all day! To make sure that your yard or park play area is free of poison ivy and poison oak, do a quick sweep to see if you can see any. If you find some, make sure you remove it with gloves on and a household weed killer. If you have pets that go outside, eliminating the plants is very important because they can play in the poison ivy or oak and bring it back inside without anyone knowing.
If you are going on fun social distancing hikes, help your children to stay away from poison ivy, and poison oak with the old standby rhyme of “leaves of three let them be.” That is always a good place to start! Wearing breathable long sleeves and pants will also help reduce the amount of skin that could be exposed to the plant and help prevent those itchy, red, rashes.
If you think your child has come into contact with the plants, be sure to wash the area carefully with soap and warm water. It isn’t the rash that will spread the symptoms of poison ivy or oak; it is the oil that the plant produces when hurt or damaged called urushiol, which can remain on the skin. The itchy, red, patchy or streaky rash or swelling will appear on any areas of skin that came into contact with the oil. In severe cases, your child might also develop a fever; if your child has a fever call our office. They might need an antihistamine, calamine lotion or a topical steroid to help with the rash. After a few days the rash will blister, and eventually crust and flake off. This whole process might take 2-3 weeks to complete.
For severe cases or cases of poison ivy that involve sensitive areas, we may need to use an oral steroid for a period of time. Please call our office if you suspect that is the case.
Ticks and What To Do:
Ticks are small; they look like the head of a pin or like little specks of dirt. They particularly like to hide in grassy or wooded areas and are the most active from April to October. To avoid ticks and tick bites, cover up with long sleeves and pants, long socks, and a hat to cover your hair. Avoiding areas of tall grass and densely wooded areas, and applying a bug repellent will also help keep ticks off of you.
Even if you follow all these guidelines, a tick still might bite you or your child! When you come inside from playing outside, do a tick check! Make sure you check all those hard to reach places like armpits, the backs of knees, groins, belly buttons, and behind ears.
Lyme Disease is also something to be on the lookout for now that tick season has started. Ticks that have a bacteria called spirochetes can pass along the disease if they bite a human. Two of the most common symptoms to be on the lookout for are:
– feeling tired and achy all over
-a red, circular rash (that looks a little like a bullseye or a target) at or near the tick bite.
If you think your child has the symptoms of Lyme Disease, call our office immediately.
We know these are strange times of being in the house all day and taking more walks and hikes in a few weeks then maybe you have all year! Hopefully, with these tips, you and your family will be prepared for all the fun and the not so fun things that come with spring. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at 540-349-3225.