The summer is here at last. The days are getting longer and the warm weather is making you long for crystal-clear seas or stunning mountain peaks to enjoy some well-deserved rest with the family. But even the most cheerful of seasons hide pitfalls that can jeopardise the outcome of the holidays. So you do not be caught off guard, Linea MammaBaby® has some practical advice to make your summer at the beach or in the mountains perfect and unforgettable.


Children’s skin in summer

Exposure to sunlight in the cooler hours of the day is beneficial to the body because it stimulates the production of vitamin D, has an antidepressant effect and improves some skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and vitiligo. However, the skin must always be carefully protected, especially in children, because the amount of melanin they can produce is minimal in the early stages of life and gradually increases with age. Epidemiological studies have shown that intense exposure at a young age (under 15 years) without sunscreen amplifies the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood.

One hundred times more UVA (ultraviolet A) rays are absorbed than UVB (ultraviolet B) during exposure to the sun on a beach. Although the skin cancer potential of UVA radiations is considerably lower than that of UVB radiations, the importance of using broad-spectrum sunscreens is obvious. The protection factor must always be high. The cream must be resistant to water and perspiration as well as being well tolerated by the skin. Always remember that sun rash and sunburn can happen very fast even after deceitfully short exposure (like a walk in the park) for babies and people with a light skin type, so it is a good idea to apply sunscreen even in town during the summer.

Beware of sun rash, sunburn and contagious impetigo
Some people, particularly children but even some adults, develop sun rash following exposure to sunlight. Sun rash manifests as a reddening of the skin, very often associated with moderate swelling and itching. Unfortunately, these symptoms do not appear immediately, but a few hours after sun exposure. This means you cannot tell what is happening to your skin right away and why it is essential to always protect yourself with adequate sunscreen before exposure. Smearing our child with cream after an hour of running on the beach may be too late.
Another typical summer problem is impetigo, an infectious condition that always requires correct medical diagnosis and timely treatment. It is caused by bacteria that come into contact with slightly damaged areas of skin and can therefore penetrate the organism and proliferate. Lesions generally affect uncovered areas, such as the face, neck, hands and extremities. It manifests as small red blisters surrounded by an erythematous circle. Pus is discharged when the vesicle ruptures and a yellowish crust forms. The condition is caused by bacteria and therefore antibiotic treatment is always required. The paediatrician may opt for topical or oral antibiotic treatment according to the extent and severity of the symptoms. Impetigo is contagious and therefore it is important to observe all hygiene rules to avoid spreading in the family or the community.

At what time of day is it best to go to the beach and what precautions should be taken?
Avoid exposure to the sun between 11 am and 4 pm when the concentration of UV rays is at its highest. Repeatedly applying generous amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreens with high protection factors (about every 2 hours and after each swim) to all exposed skin areas is a rule that prevents redness. Exposure can be progressively increased by 15-30 minutes a day, avoiding staying in the same position for a long time. Never let the child nap in the sun. Goods parents will protect the skin of their children and also their eyes, with UV-certified glasses or hats with a visor. Parasols and bathing in water are NOT effective sun protection. Finally, pay attention to the photosensitising effect of some products (medicines, perfumes) that your children may use or take.

Nappy rashes in summer
Nappy rash is an inflammation of the skin localised in the genital region and skin folds that manifests as a reddening of the skin, more or less associated with small papular lesions and sometimes with the presence of small areas of maceration. The most common and frequent cause is a simple irritation caused by the rubbing of the nappy, which is sometimes not changed frequently enough. This causes stagnating faeces and urine to remain in contact with the baby’s skin for too long, leading to local irritation. In some cases, simple irritative dermatitis can be accompanied by real infections of a bacterial or fungal nature, which require specific pharmacological treatment.
Generally speaking, to prevent the onset of dermatitis, it is best to wash the area thoroughly with lukewarm water and mild detergents. Aim to change the nappy often and avoid applying topical antibiotic, antifungal or cortisone therapies unless specifically recommended by the paediatrician or dermatologist.

Precautions for babies at the beach
You can take a newborn baby to the beach but you must be very careful because the baby’s skin is very delicate and easily irritated by the sun. Spending time on the beach should be kept to a minimum, no more than one hour, and only in the early morning or late afternoon, avoiding direct exposure to the sun. Despite this, sunscreen must also be used on newborns because the shade of an umbrella or cot cover is not enough to fully protect against ultraviolet radiation.
Check the temperatures. Newborns can dehydrate very easily, so it is a good idea to supplement the fluids lost by making the little one drink often. For the same reason, the beach should be avoided on very hot and sultry days.
Given the extreme delicacy of the skin in this age group, it is always a good idea to ask your paediatrician or dermatologist for advice on the type of product to apply.

Children in the mountains
A healthy child over 1-year-old can stay at any altitude below 2500 metres above sea level. It is advisable not to go higher than 1500 metres for healthy children under 1-year-old, they can go up to 2000 metres gradually on foot (not by cable car). Headaches, insomnia, tiredness, loss of appetite and nausea are signs of poor adaptation to the altitude, in which case it is necessary to take a break and go down to the valley if the symptoms persist. Hiking in the mountains should be ruled out for all children suffering from conditions that contraindicate walking at high altitudes, such as heart disease and serious respiratory disorders. Altitude and snow enhance the effect of solar radiation, so it is very important to protect exposed skin and eyes.

Can newborns travel by air?
Air travel is not recommended for infants, especially premature babies, and children with a major heart condition because of the reduced amount of oxygen at high altitudes.
Children can be disturbed by pressure fluctuations during take-off and landing. Do not try to make them fall asleep at all costs because waking up with ear pain can be a bit traumatic. On the other hand, it is useful to let older children suck on a dummy/nipple or a sweet because the movement of the jaw helps the ear not to close.
The cabin air is very dry so give your child a drink often and walk around for a few minutes every hour. The change of time zone can disrupt sleep and meal rhythm in the first 2-3 days of the holiday.
Remember to keep any medication you may need during the trip in your hand luggage so that it is immediately available to you. Do not forget that bottles cannot have a liquid content of more than 100 ml. In particular cases, a statement from the general paediatrician on the need to have some types of medication on hand may be necessary, depending on the child’s pathology.
If you are planning to travel abroad, perhaps to exotic countries, don’t forget to check well in advance whether vaccinations are necessary, so that you can plan ahead.

The must-haves to put in your suitcase
When you are away from home, even for just a few days, it is good to have a small supply of medicines with you that could be useful if needed:

-Thermometer and antipyretics (paracetamol).
-Oral rehydration solutions, to be used to prevent dehydration in case of vomiting or diarrhoea.
-Physiological solution (for nasal washes/cleaning eyelids in case of conjunctivitis).
-Topical antiseptic for cleansing wounds or skin abrasions + a few plasters + a small packet of gauze.
-Oral antihistamines and cortisone and antibiotic cream for dealing with allergic reactions (only after indication and prescription).

Particular mention should be made of children with chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes) or diseases that might require urgent medication (febrile convulsions). These children need to have their medication with them at all times, even for short trips away from home, and the adults in charge need to be aware of the underlying condition, the clinical manifestations and how the medication is administered.


Children and bugs

-Insect bites and children: what to apply
We all know that the summer is the best season to enjoy the fresh air and long walks in nature. Unfortunately, these joyful experiences can be disrupted by unpleasant encounters with insects: mosquitoes, bees, wasps and ticks proliferate in the summer. Here are some practical tips to avoid being caught off guard

-Mosquito bites cause irritation, itching and minor swelling. In case of intense local irritation, apply ice and antihistamines to relieve discomfort.

-Treating bee, wasp and hornet stings is a more serious matter. Symptoms range from simple local discomfort that resolves within 24-48 hours, to anaphylaxis in the case of allergy sufferers (in which case help should be sought immediately by calling 112 in Italy). The venom of these insects can also cause vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and fever. Remove the sting with tweezers, disinfect the wound and apply ice for pain and antihistamine/cortisone-based cream for inflammation and itching.

-The most serious problem occurs after a tick bite. The insect remains attached to the skin and must be removed with tweezers. Trying to pinch it as close to the skin as possible and pull with a twisting movement to extract it completely (do not simply yank it off). Then disinfect the area thoroughly and take any antihistamines for the itching. This puncture requires close monitoring because after 30-40 days a circular skin reaction associated with fever, malaise and muscular pains can be observed and should be reported immediately to the paediatrician.