Insect bites and otitis, the most common cases of summer ER visits


Insect bites and ear infections are among the most common and annoying summer’s emergencies.

More time outdoors, more sun exposure, routines changes, new activities… all part of our holiday’s package, a combination that can also involve some risks.  Prevention and anticipating some circumstances arekey to enjoy a few days of rest, running smoothly and without visits to ER.

We interviewed Doctor Isabel Ruz, specialist in General Medicine at Hospital Ochoa, who shared with us some tips to stay ahead and prevent incidents, helping us reduce risks.

Doctor Ruz, what are the most frequent emergencies in summer?

In summer, I would say insect bites and otitis by far,against other usual ones such as pharyngotonsillitis and gastroenteritis. Compared to the rest of the year, otitis tend to occur more in summer, especially external ear infections, mainly due to the continuous contact with water and its related sports activities. However, jellyfish bites this year have been fewer compared to previous years.

Gastroenteritis and food poisoning are other conditions that can worsen in the summer, also considered the reason behind ER visits, can you give us some tips to avoid them?

Viral gastroenteritis is difficult to avoid during the summer season and it’s contagious, although those in contact with anyone suffering from it should take a series of hygienic measures to, as far as possible, avoid contagion.  Don’t forget washing your hands well after seeing the patient, as well as using bleach to disinfect medical instruments in contact with the affected patient…

In case of food poisoning, it can be easier to resolve just by avoiding places with few hygienic measures or where food is not well refrigerated. You should also take care not to eat eggs or recipes with that ingredient if you don’t trust their origin.

Also, can you give us some recommendations to avoid heat strokes or sunburns…

Above all, drink a lot of liquid and avoid as much as possible exposure to the sun, during the day central hours.  Avoid hot places and for sunburns, always use good sunscreens with a high protection factor.  And do not forget to apply it frequently.

What is the age of the patient who comes to the emergency room during the summer?

By volume, we have usually more adults visiting ER in summer, although numbers are very similar to the rest of the year.

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