Take caution when thinking of going barefoot this summer. Not only should you protect your feet from the sun's harmful rays, but summertime is a primetime for puncture wounds and traumatic injuries to feet and ankles. The first and best defense to protecting your feet is to always wear shoes when outdoors.
Nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, bits of shell at the beach, thorns from bushes, and bumble bees are all hidden dangers lurking in the grass and can easily puncture the skin of your foot. Even if you have attempted to remove the embedded object, many times dirt and bacteria that were pushed into the wound remain and can cause serious infections. Any puncture wound that has penetrated the skin should be treated within 24 hours. Without proper treatment, these type of injuries can result in not only infection, but painful scarring or development of a cyst.
If you are stung by a bee the wound can be treated in the following ways:
- Remove the stinger from the foot. If you see a little black dot in the wound, part of the stinger is still present.
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Apply ice or cool water for 10 to 30 minutes to the sting.
- Consider applying an antiperspirant to the sting. An ingredient called aluminum chlorohydrate may reduce the effect of the bee venom.
- A lotion such a calamine can be helpful. A paste of baking soda and water can have a similar effect.
- An antihistamine such as Benedrayl (taken orally) can provide some added relief and help the reaction from spreading.
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for systemic pain relief.
Accidents happen. Feet can get caught in the spokes of a bike. They may be hit by a rock or other objects that flies out from the lawnmower. Wading in the river can also risk injury to the foot by stepping on a sharp rock. Sturdy shoes should always be worn when riding bikes or mowing the lawn. Rubber water shoes or sandals with a thick sole will protect feet in the river. Any traumatic injury should be evaluated to determine the extent of injury and proper treatment.
Don't let a foot injury ruin your summertime fun - always remember your shoes!