What’s Up Doc? Expert Answers About Summer Health and Safety


I love summer. The outdoors, the camps, the sun, the water, the heat, the bugs… Okay, so the bugs and heat aren’t my favorite. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities for fun, but also a heightened need to focus on health and safety with little ones in particular. No wonder June is National Safety Month. To get the lowdown on summer health and safety, Portland Moms Blog turned to a local doctor who has seen first-hand what can happen when precautions aren’t taken. Read his expert tips to make sure your family is ready for an amazing summer!

{Thank you to Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care for sponsoring this post and to Dr. Andy Barnett for providing these expert tips. If things DON’T go as expected and you or your children suffer an illness or injury, the doctors at Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care’s 14 area locations will get you on the road to recovery so you can enjoy all summer has to offer!}

summer safety, National Safety Month, Legacy-GoHealth Urgent CareHow can I keep my kids hydrated during the hot summer months?

Children should attend all events with their own water bottle and should avoid drinks with any added sugar or caffeine, which can worsen dehydration. Parents should make sure that event/camp organizers are giving children an opportunity to get out of the heat occasionally and encourage kids to hydrate early and often during the day. It’s a good idea to make sure that kids also start the day hydrated, and have at least 8-16 oz of water before leaving the house in the morning.

Beyond applying sunscreen, what should we do to protect kids in the sun?

Children should wear clothing that is light and breathable, and try to stay in the shade if possible. If allowed, they should also wear a hat that protects the face from direct sun. Avoiding sunburn from UV radiation is very important, and this can be accomplished through choice of clothing, hats, and application of a long-lasting, sweat/waterproof sunscreen.  Be sure that children reapply sunscreen every few hours to maintain effectiveness.

What kinds of physicals do kids need to get before going to summer camps? Are these physicals offered at Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care centers?

Every camp has their own policy about pre-participation physicals, and may have their own paperwork to complete. Be sure to check with your child’s camp/activity well in advance to ensure that you can get the paperwork completed in time. Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care providers are able to complete most pre-participation medical evaluation paperwork, unless specialized testing (such as hearing) is required.

What kinds of bugs (and related diseases) are most common in the summer? How should parents treat these?

Insects are abundant in summer, and common types include bees, wasps and mosquitoes.  If children will be in/around wooded areas, ticks are also a possibility.  There are a number of excellent bug repellent sprays available on the market that will lower the risk of insect bites, and parents should consider these especially if children will be outside at dawn/dusk, when many insects are at their most active. In certain areas of the country, tick borne diseases such as Lyme’s disease are a concern, although this is not an issue in Portland.  If there is a concern for infection or reaction to an insect bite, our Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care providers would be happy to evaluate any child or adult at our centers.

What allergies are common during summer months?

The most common summer allergies are to grasses, especially as children are likely to be in closer contact with grassy fields during the summer months. Talk to your pediatrician or one of our Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care providers about medications that might help, and try to avoid being around when lawn mowing is in progress, as airborne particles can be particularly irritating to those who are allergic.

What should we keep in mind when it comes to water safety?

Water safety is always an issue in the summer months, so make sure you know where children are swimming, and that they are always with a responsible adult or where there is a lifeguard.  

Most importantly, get out there and have fun!

Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care has 14 urgent care centers throughout Oregon and Washington in Barbur, Oregon City, Progress Ridge, Cedar Hills, Sunset, N. Williams, Johnson Creek, Lombard, Fairview, GreshamCamas and Cascade Park, with two new facilities opened this month in Lake Oswego and Pearl District.

Connect with GoHealth Urgent Care: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Barnett_GoHealth-600px-sqDr. Andy Barnett joined Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care as medical director of the Northwest market in 2016. Specialized in family and ER medicine, he is also a practicing physician at Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care centers in the Portland area. Dr. Barnett graduated from Harvard University and earned his medical degree at Duke University. He completed his residency training in family medicine at UC Davis-David Grant Medical Center.  In 2010, Dr. Barnett moved to Portland where he completed an ER residency program at Oregon Health & Science University, and served as an ER physician at several Portland hospitals before joining Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care.

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Jen is a Type A introvert who is continually learning {in large part as a result of motherhood} that she can’t control it all and that everything is better with chocolate. After spending most of her life in Minnesota, she made Portland home a couple of years ago along with her New York native husband, Phil, and their lovely littles, Connor (November 2010) and Brielle (April 2013). Jen quickly fell in love with Oregon and, along with her family, is determined to explore all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. At their current stage of family life, she and her hubby give every adventure a 50/50 shot of succeeding without a child {or parent} meltdown.