Friday’s Summer Healthcare Guide for Kids
Summer is here! Your kiddos are home and driving you crazy. While this summer still may not be quite ‘back to normal,’ it will be a major upgrade from last summer. People continue to get vaccinated and the safety levels are rising.
As we make our return to normalcy, however, you’ll have to be on the lookout for the same viruses and illnesses that pop up each summer. From staving off the summer flu to preventing Lyme disease, there are simple measures you can take to keep your kiddos safe and healthy all summer long.
Below we’ve outlined how to keep your family well these next few months and how your Friday health plan can help you out along the way.
Make sure your kiddos are up-to-date on their vaccines
All plans have access to a wide-range of vaccines to keep your kids in ship-shape through the summer. In addition to the COVID vaccine, which is fully covered by Friday at no cost, there are a variety of other free preventive shots and vaccines for your children.
From the flu shot to the chickenpox vaccine, we cover over a dozen vaccines. You can receive the following vaccines at your pediatrician’s office or through a Friday pharmacy.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (flu shot)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
Be aware of bug bites and tick-borne diseases
It’s officially tick season, so it’s time for a tick safety refresher.
During the summer, your kids are likely getting outside more often: Playing in the backyard, visiting local and state parks, and trekking through the woods. While insect bites might be annoying and painful, they’re usually pretty harmless (think: bee stings and mosquito bites).
Occasionally, though, bug bites can spread infection to humans. The main one that jumps out are tick bites, which can transmit Lyme disease, an infection that causes symptoms like rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. If not caught early, this illness can also infect your child’s joints, heart, and nervous system. Like most diseases, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to treat and cure.
Many kids recently infected with Lyme disease will get a red rash called erythema migrans, which can sometimes look like a “bull’s eye.” This is a clear indication that your child has been bitten by a tick and you need to see a medical professional.
If you happen to pull a tick off your kid or see that erythema migrans, you can use Teladoc to quickly reach out to a doctor. Send them a photo of both the rash and the tick.
Here’s a deeper look at how to steer clear of tick-borne diseases this summer.
Wear sunscreen and layer up: protect your kids from sunburn and skin damage this summer
In states like Texas, Nevada, and Colorado, the sun can be fierce and relentless during the summer months. Extended exposure to UV rays can lead to severe illness, like sun poisoning, a burn that inflames the skin.
Step one to preventing sunburn: Make sure your kiddos are wearing sunscreen, and not just any sunscreen. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 SPF, and remember to reapply every two hours.
Secondly, if you know you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, err on the side of dressing your children in longer layers. If it’s just way too hot outside for that, a hat can help protect their heads and faces from the sun. Dark colored hats are believed to be more protective.
Try to find some shade when you can this summer, especially if you’re going to be outside for much of the afternoon. For example, if you’re at the park with your kids, get comfortable in the cool spot beneath that elm tree. If you’re walking a few miles, gravitate to the side of the street with some cover.
Know the signs and symptoms of food poisoning
It’s no secret that illness-causing bacteria, like Salmonella, grow faster in warmer weather. In turn, rates of food poisoning increase during the hot summer months.
Be sure whenever you're preparing food to take appropriate food-safety precautions, such us completely cooking meats and washing your hands often.
Symptoms of food poisoning in children can range from upset stomach to diarrhea and fever. If you suspect your kid is sick with food poisoning or is experiencing symptoms that are severe, don’t hesitate to see a doctor in the Friday Health network.
Reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear
From natural swimming holes to your local community pool, swimmer’s ear is one of the most common illnesses for kids during the summer. And infection tends to happen without obvious symptoms at first. Your kid may go for a dip in the pool when water gets inside the ear (despite repeated attempts to shake and hop it out). After, a damp environment is created where bacteria can grow and thrive. Over the coming days and weeks, the ear canal may become infected.
Symptoms will usually be mild at first: itching in the ear canal and slight redness inside the ear. But these symptoms can worsen to include severe pain and high fever as the bacteria spreads. At this point, you’ll need to see a doctor who can treat your child with ear drops.
But here’s the good news: there are easy steps you can take to cut down the risk of swimmer’s ear. Earplugs, bathing caps, and custom-fitted swim molds are all highly effective and preventive measures.
Next, when your kiddos get out of the water, you can dry their ears with a towel. If they do seem to have water ‘stuck’ inside their ear, wiggle the earlobe while the ear is facing down toward the ground.
Water still left in their ears when you get home? Consider using a hair dryer (on low, several inches from the ear) to remove any remaining water.
Take advantage of your free options for non-emergency illnesses and injuries
With every Friday health plan, you have a bunch of quality options for when your little one has a minor health hiccup. These are your main options for all non-emergency illnesses:
Use a free doctor visit (most Friday Health Plans have unlimited visits for each kid)
Yep, each one of your kids gets free unlimited visits with the pediatrician on many plans.* Catastrophic Plans cover 3 free appointments with the pediatrician. Is one of your kid’s feeling under the weather? Schedule an appointment and visit the doctor, for free.
*Not available on the Bronze or Bronze HSA plan. For these plans, the cost is $0 after you hit your deductible. Teladoc virtual appointments are free to all Friday members.
Everyone can Talk to a doctor with Teladoc, for free
We’ve said if before and we’ll say it again: Teladoc is the easiest and fastest way to get remote care from a medical professional for non-emergency illnesses like sinus problems, respiratory infection, allergies, urinary tract infection, the cold, and flu symptoms.
As an unlimited benefit with every Friday health plan, you can speak to a doctor online or over the phone for a $0 with Teladoc. Teladoc makes it easy to get medical advice for your child without having to leave your home.