How to Solve Summer Health Problems from Tick Bites to Poison Ivy

PHL17 Morning News
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It’s summer, and that means seasonal “itches and ouches” can get in the way of fun plans.

MinuteClinic nurse practitioner Kevin Morgan joined us to explain what we can do to help fix and event prevent some of those common health concerns.


Tick Bites: How do you correctly remove a tick?

  • If a tick has attached to the body, use tweezers and pull it out from the head vs. the swollen belly. Pull straight out – don’t twist it.
  • Using nail polish, petroleum jelly or heat will not help you remove the tick.
  • Wash the site with some alcohol or soap and water and you should be fine. Most tick bites are not harmful.
  • Keep an eye on the area of the bite. If after a couple weeks you see an expanding bulls eye ring around the site or you develop a fever, it could be a sign of Lyme disease and you should get checked out by your PCP or come see us at one of our MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS Pharmacy stores.


Jellyfish Sting: How do you properly treat a sting?

  • If it’s the common North Atlantic variety we experience at the shore, just use seawater to flush and cleanse the wound.
  • Urine, a common home treatment, is not effective and may actually cause more pain. Meat tenderizer is not proven to be effective.
  • An antibiotic ointment and light bandage is all you need to treat the wound


Poison Ivy: What should you do if you think you’ve come in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac?

  • It’s important to flush exposed areas as soon as possible (the plant’s oil causes a rash and intense itching that penetrates the skin within 10 minutes).
  • Use water to rinse, but don’t scrub or rub
  • Urushiol secretions also penetrate fabric, so carefully remove clothing while avoiding skin contact
  • Rash can develop in 4 hours to 4 days and last 2-3 weeks
  • Cold, wet compresses or oatmeal baths relieve itching; calamine lotion or borrows solution to treat rash
  • Antihistamines DO NOT help with itching caused by poison ivy and over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone creams are not much help either.


Swimmer’s Ear: How do I prevent from getting constant ear aches after swimming?

  • Dry ears after swimming with a towel and if necessary, tilt your head to the side to allow water to drain.
  • There are some over-the-counter treatments that promote drying and prevent bacteria growth. You can buy a pre-mixed solution at the drug store or make a homemade mixture of ½ rubbing alcohol and ½ white vinegar that is equally effective.
  • Squirt it into the ear. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then drain it by tilting your head to the side.


Sun Burn: What are the best steps for treating a sun burn?

  • Use cold, damp compresses to provide relief; apply aloe vera after
  • Take Ibuprofen or another pain reliever
  • Drink extra water
  • Leave blisters alone – don’t pop them –  to promote healing
  • If you feel dizzy, sick or you think you have a really bad burn, it’s best to get evaluated by a medical professional
  • For prevention; use a broad spectrum sun block of at least 30SPF. Make sure sprays reach the body and are not lost in the wind. If using lotion; an amount equal to a shot glass covers an adult’s body. Re-apply every two hours or after swimming or exercise.

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