Don’t Pay for Water Play: Health Tips to Keep Swimming Kids Safe All Summer

kids swimming in a pool

Water play is a big part of summer fun, especially here on the Eastern Shore. Whether it’s in a pool, a bay, or the wide and glittering Gulf, there’s no shortage of places for kids to splash, swim, and shriek in the water when the weather turns hot.

But playing in the water isn’t all fun and games. From ear infections to dehydration to accidental drownings, there are a number of ways the water doesn’t always play it safe, even once you’re safely on dry land.

If you want to keep enjoying your fun in the sun, it’s important to take steps to stay safe and healthy while playing in the pool (or at the beach, or in the bay), and to be aware of health concerns that could come later.

Stay hydrated.

It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re totally surrounded by water. But you’re just as likely to get dehydration while swimming as at any other time – it’s just not as easy to notice it. Because you aren’t actively sweating or feeling very hot, it’s harder to recognize your body’s need for hydration. Unfortunately, even mild dehydration can cause poor response times, fatigue, and muscle cramps –  all of which can lead to severe injury when swimming. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after your time in the water.

Watch for swimmer’s ear.

If your child starts complaining of ear pain after climbing out of the pool, it may be swimmer’s ear. A common condition in kids during summer, swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal that’s caused by standing water. Symptoms include pain (especially when the ear is pulled or pressed), itching, a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, swelling, redness, and discharge.

Swimmer’s ear can be prevented by wearing ear plugs or a swim cap in the water, drying your ears thoroughly after swimming, and applying over-the-counter preventative drops after swimming. If you’re unsure if it’s swimmer’s ear, stop in at Urgent Care of Fairhope for a diagnosis. There are times antibiotic drops may be prescribed to help clear the infection and relieve pain.

Know the signs of submersion injury.

Although extremely rare, it is possible for a person to drown outside of the water. Submersion injuries, which some mistakenly call “dry drowning,” occur when inhaled water causes complications after a person has been rescued from a drowning event. Symptoms can occur minutes to hours after rescue and include:

  • Coughing
  • Hard or fast breathing
  • Confusion or mental changes
  • Sleepiness
  • Changes in skin color
  • Difficulty breathing

There’s little cause for alarm if your child sucks in some water on a bad belly-flop and comes up coughing. But if your child is rescued from a submerged drowning event, watch them carefully for the remainder of the day and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms arise.

Urgent Care of Fairhope can fix your summer fun.

If too much time in the water does cause an issue like swimmer’s ear or severe sunburn, you can visit Urgent Care of Fairhope without an appointment for fast and professional treatment that gets you back to your fun in the sun. Just walk in during operating hours for an easy road to recovery!

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