Offers Tips For Your Own All-Stars
PITTSBURGH, July 17, 2006 — While 2006 All-Star Week may have ended, there is still a need to take certain precautions with your own all-stars at home. During the month of July, with the dozens of youth softball, baseball, swimming and golf tournaments throughout the Pittsburgh area, parents need to make sure their all-stars are well prepared for the heat, bumps and bruises that may happen along the way. By following these easy tips, parents and youth alike will be able to fully enjoy all that summer athletic events have to offer.
- APPLY AND (REAPPLY) SUNBLOCK– With ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays beaming down during the summertime, it is important to apply a sunscreen with a sun protector factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, depending on the length of time spent in the sun. With kids sweating and drinking water, uniforms rubbing against arms and legs, it is equally important to reapply sunscreen regularly. Joseph C. English, III, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh, says, “Make sure that when out in the sun for long periods of time, children have adequate sunscreen protection, at the very least an SPF of 15, and apply it every two hours.” And while water-resistant or waterproof sunscreens remain on the body as long as possible, each should be reapplied after heavy sweating or participating in any activity that would potentially rub the product off.
Also, it is similarly important to remember that a cloudy day does not mean a sunscreen-free day. Have you ever gotten home after a cloudy day at the pool and wondered how you got so sunburned? While a cloudy day may not be extremely hot, the sun is still present above the clouds and you can be sure that UVA and UVB rays are too. It is just as important to apply and reapply sunscreen on cloudy days. Dr. English reminds parents that “The main thing you want to remember is to put on enough SPF to avoid sunburn, and in doing so, avoid an increased risk of skin cancer later in life.”
- BEWARE OF CERTAIN FOODS AT CONCESSION STANDS – While hot dogs, ice cream, nachos and other snacks can be enticing on a hot summer day, it is important to stick to a low-fat diet if you are going to be in the heat for a prolonged period of time. Both you and your little all-star can experience cramping and dehydration from fatty, sugary foods which are hard to digest. Because kids are constantly in motion, it is important that they drink plenty of water before, during and after working out. Try packing a PB&J sandwich and some pretzels for your all-star’s lunch break and let him pick out a popsicle (there are many different “cool” shapes these days) for dessert or a snack. Popsicles are a good snack because they provide that sugar-boost kids are looking for (but not enough to dehydrate them) and at the same time cut out all the fat and calories of ice cream. Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S., founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center and associate director of the UPMC Center for Nutrition, suggests, “When choosing a sweet treat, think small and simple. Try to limit the choice to 200 calories or less. Popsicles are a really great way to do this.”
Dr. Fernstrom also suggests that when planning the tournament’s cook out or concession stand, think about barbequing skinless chicken breasts for a delicious wrap or sandwich, or grilling light hot dogs or turkey dogs. Watermelon, she says, is a great snack since it naturally contains lots of water.
- WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ALL-STAR GETS A “BOO-BOO” – First and foremost, if your all-star’s bump or bruise looks serious, call 9-1-1 or consult the medical trainer immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Donald M. Yealy, M.D., professor and vice chairman of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, advises that in the event that your child has received a severe hit or taken a serious fall, it is best to apply a cool compress to the area (such as ice), limit movement of the extremity and elevate the affected area to help your child cope with the pain while awaiting emergency attention. Dr. Yealy also recommends that if your child ever experiences pain that is new or severe, regardless of physical contact, it is important to visit the emergency department to make sure it is not a sign of a more serious condition.
- SAY “BYE-BYE” TO BUG BITES AND BEE STINGS – One thing that typically goes unnoticed before the big game is applying insect repellent. Bee stings and bug bites can be painful and uncomfortable and parents should know the ways to prevent them. To protect your child from potentially harmful insects, Joseph C. English, III, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh, tells parents that the solution is to wear protective clothing and also to put on a layer of insect repellent containing DEET to protect against bug bites. For children under the age of 10, the product should contain 9 percent or less DEET.
Should your child get a big bite, treating it with something as simple as ice is enough to take the sting out, and following up with an antihistamine should be sufficient. Dr. English does remind parents that if the child has a severe allergic reaction to a bug bite or bee sting to seek medical attention immediately.