News Room

Happy First Day of Summer!

So you lost track of time, forgot to reapply your sunscreen, fell asleep in a comfy deck chair at the Aquatic Center – that happens to the many of us every now and then. And a painful sunburn is the price we pay.

Years ago, sunburns were treated by rubbing butter onto the affected area. We now know that doesn’t do a thing but leave us greasy and miserable. Fortunately, there are good ways to soothe the burn.  If you are sunburned, I recommend the following:

  • Take an anti-inflammatory medicine as soon as possible to help keep down pain and swelling. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin will work. Ask your doctor for a recommendation specific to your needs and health requirements.
  • Take a tepid bath or a cool shower as soon as possible.
  • Apply cool washcloths to the burn. (Some recommend soaking a washcloth in chamomile tea or skim milk, chilling it, and applying to the burn.)
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take acetaminophen for headache and minor chills. Again, ask your doctor for a specific recommendation for your unique needs.
  • Try chilling a moisturizer in the refrigerator and applying it to your burn. Eucerin Calming Cream is one option.
  • Use numbing sprays such as Benzocaine with caution. Some dermatologists have reported patients developing allergic reactions to key ingredients in these products, and you don’t want to add an itchy rash to your burned skin. Pure aloe vera is a good alternative.

Children need to be especially careful of sun exposure. A few kid-friendly sun tips include: keeping them in the shade, wearing long sleeves and hats and using SPF 50 or greater. But be advised, children under six months of age or less should not wear sunscreen. Keeping them in the shade is truly your best option.

To schedule a well-child or other visit with pediatrician Julia Dewey, MD, visit Fort HealthCare Internal Medicine & Pediatrics.

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As the weather improves, so do your opportunities to hit the pool! For  many parents though, this means battling with endless complaints of, “My ear  hurts!” So what is it and how do you help your little swimmers cope?

Swimmer’s ear (also called otitis externa) is a painful condition of the  outer ear. Males and females of all ages are affected equally, but children and  teenagers most frequently develop this type of ear infection. Because the  condition occurs most often during the summer with exposure of the ear to water
while swimming, many people call it swimmer’s ear, but water from a bath or
shower can trigger the condition, too.

The skin lining the ear canal and outer ear serves as a barrier against  infection from bacteria and fungi, and is also a physical barrier that protects  against excessive moisture. Any break in the skin lining can lead to infection.

The barrier can become broken when attempting to clean the ears, from excessive moisture in the ear canal, from ear plugs, hearing aids, heaphones, and other devices that may be inserted into the ear canal. Chemicals like hair dyes, bleaches, and shampoos may irritate the ear canal and alter its protective properties as well. Generally, any inflammation of the outer ear canal, such as infections, allergies, or skin conditions, can lead to swimmer’s ear, and these things can happen at any time of year.

The most common bacteria responsible for outer ear infection are Staphylococcus
aureus
and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The most common symptom of swimmer’s ear is pain, and the pain almost always involves only one ear. The  ear canal may itch, be red, or swollen and may drain. Ringing in the ear  (tinnitus) and dizziness or vertigo may also be present. Fever is generally not  present, but if there is, it’s usually low grade.

Treatment of otitis externa involves treating both the infection and the  pain. First line treatment involves using antibiotic drops that also contain a  steroid. This can be supplemented with oral antibiotics for severe cases.  Because the condition causes significant swelling of the ear canal, placement  of a wick in the ear canal can speed resolution of the infection in cases where  there is difficulty visualizing the ear drum. It is also necessary to clean the  ear canal of debris including skin, wax and purulent secretion. The ear should be left alone and kept dry while treatment is ongoing.

If you think your child may have swimmer’s ear or is exhibiting symptoms of ear pain or infection, call Fort HealthCare ENT at (920) 563-6667 to schedule an appointment and be on your way to a happy, splashy summer!

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Another beautiful summer is here. Like many Wisconsin natives, I love the change of seasons, and the unique pleasures each one brings. But the heat of summer can also mean problems for patients with diabetes.

Type I and Type II diabetes can impair a person’s ability to sweat, hampering the body’s ability to keep core temperature under control in the heat. Further, heat can damage equipment and medications that people with diabetes rely on to manage their disease.

If you have diabetes, take extra care to find a cool place to take regular breaks from the summer heat; wear loose, light-colored clothing; and avoid exercising outdoors in the midday sun. Remember that heat illness can set in at just 80 degrees when muggy conditions drive up the heat index. Don’t wait until you are sweltering to seek out air conditioning or jump into the pool.  

It’s also very important to keep your glucose monitoring devices, glucose monitoring strips and medications in a cool, dry place so that they function properly. And remember: If you are going out into the heat, be sure to bring along your medications and supplies – you might need them. Too many patients leave these at home to avoid exposing them to heat.

With a few extra precautions and common sense, patients with diabetes can enjoy every moment of another wonderful Wisconsin summer. If you’d like to come speak with me about managing your diabetes, you can find me at FortHealthCare.com/JohnsonCreek.

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