Springtime and Your Health

Spring is in the air! That means temperatures are rising, flowers are blooming and sap is flowing. The colors, fresh smells and sunshine have returned.

Of course, it also means emerging wildlife, plants and pollens. While you may be willing to live with these irritants just to get outdoors, you can take a few precautions to enjoy the greening season with minimal suffering.

Combat seasonal allergies

Kids as young as 3 years old can experience seasonal allergies, and even babies can be allergic to indoor irritants like dust mites. To prevent breathing difficulties, stock up on tissues and antihistamines. Just remember that over-the-counter allergy medicines can cause drowsiness. They also have different prescribed amounts for adults and children, so make sure you’re administering the correct dose.

Protect your kids and pets from wildlife

Wild animals enjoy the warmer temperatures and sunshine as much as we do. Groundhogs, snakes, skunks and other animals become more active in the spring. Depending on where you live, you can also expect an increase in sightings of snakes and alligators.

While many of these animals don’t typically attack unless they’re defending themselves, you should still keep your pets current on rabies shots and watch your kids whenever they’re playing near wildlife.

Know how to respond to a bee sting allergy

Bees pose a real danger to anyone allergic to bee stings. Bees are more aggressive in the spring, and a person can be allergic to bee stings without even knowing it. Even if you’ve been stung before and didn’t have an allergic reaction, if the next sting reaches your sensitivity level you could go into anaphylactic shock. If you’re stung by a bee and experience swelling of your tongue or face, call 911 immediately.

Use insect repellents sparingly

Some aerosol sprays smell sweet and may attract pets or kids. If you spray the inside of your house, keep your pets and children away from the spray until it dries. Also be mindful that carpet fibers can hold on to aerosols. Infants, toddlers and small pets can be at risk, so do not overspray.

Know your poisonous plants

No spring season is complete without poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac These plants grow at ground level, making them particularly hazardous to kids and pets.

If your child comes in contact with a poisonous plant, keep them separated from others and do not pick them up, as the poison can easily spread from person to person. Sometimes the reaction is bad enough to require a doctor’s visit, but it can often be treated at home. Wash your hands and treat the itch with over-the-counter medication to avoid blistering and infection.

Teach your kids about poisonous plants and the red flags to avoid. A quick internet search can help you better identify these plants.

Preparing for the season can help keep you and your family safe while you enjoy the great outdoors.