Though summer officially began on Wednesday, June 21, in Southwest Florida, it often feels as if summer begins in late April or May. However, one true sign of summer has not changed from the days most of us were youngsters. In the summer, the kids are out of school.
Of course, this new free time also presents a host of additional headaches— and/or opportunities—to parents and grandparents alike.
I believe that education ever stops. No matter how old we are, each of us has the opportunity to learn something new every single day.
As the Market CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, my “classroom” is our two hospitals (Collier Boulevard and Pine Ridge Road), our physician clinics (including our Walk-In Clinic on Marco) and the extraordinary physicians and compassionate employees I am blessed to work with every day.
However, when it comes to maximizing time and education, our kids sometimes need a push in the right direction. Given the chance, most of our children and grandchildren would stay plugged into something all summer long if we didn’t intervene.
Physicians Regional’s Dr. Doris Corey has much to say on this subject. “Summer is a time to recapture leisure time,” she says. Because of the pressure placed on today’s children during the school year, Dr. Corey is more of an advocate for an “old-fashioned” approach. Get exercise by playing outside. Read a book. She even goes to far as to recommend that parents disconnect their children from electronics for a week, a day or even just an hour to take advantage of the inherent physiological and psychological benefits of “quiet time.”
Technology can’t do all the work. For example, do your children have your most important phone numbers memorized just in case they are “disconnected” and need to reach you in an emergency?
“Have your kids read a novel or try something different—perhaps with art,” suggests Dr. Corey. “They may discover a new talent they never knew they had.” She even suggested the old standby: “Have them run a lemonade stand. Anything as long as they can rediscover a slower pace.”
However, as Dr. Corey practices Family Medicine, it didn’t talk long for her physician side to emerge. “Most adultsare aware of sun protection, but are your kids wearing appropriate sun protection when you are not around? Teach your children about the risks of sun exposure, so they have the information they to make informed decisions when you are not there to guide them.”
Then there’s protective clothing. Around Southwest Florida, hats are great. Though all clothing protects from sun exposure to an extent, some clothes have been manufactured to offer an extra degree of SPF sun protection. A simple Google search should help you in this department.
In the simplest terms, remind your children to limit the amount of time they are exposed to direct sunlight. Even Dr. Corey admits: “I’m always looking for shade!”
Appropriate clothing will also help your children avoid this year’s most annoying visitor: the mosquito. However, there’s also repellant. Dr. Corey recommends Cutters (Deet Free) Lemon Eucalyptus for every day and/or around town.
But read the labels! If you are going to use a product that includes DEET, it’s best to apply it directly to your child’s clothing and not to their skin. Should you choose a product containing DEET, Dr. Corey suggests a concentration between 10% and 30%. DEET is most often used when you know the insects will be out in full force, such as camping.
Medically speaking, you should also plan ahead and make an appointment now for the various sports and school physicals your child needs for the next school year. Physicians Regional – Marco Island Walk-in Clinic offers school and sports physicals for only $20. Walk-in or call 239-394-1670 to schedule.
Those of us who call Southwest Florida our full-time home know all about water: pool water, the Gulf of Mexico, etc. We love it all. However, when your child is active and exposed to heat and sunlight, hydration is critical.
And though we all may spend a lot of time in and around water, please remind your kids to drink plenty of water, too. Preferably from an approved source — such as a bottle or fountain — and not from the pool!
For information on Family Medicine at Physicians Regional Healthcare System, call 239-348-4221 or visit PhysiciansRegionalMedicalGroup.com for information or to schedule an appointment online.