Summer means fun in the sun but oftentimes we let our guards down and fail to take certain precautions to keep ourselves safe. Here are some top summer health hazards and ways to avoid them.
1) No protection from the sun. When just walking around in the sun, how often do you slather on the sunscreen? I’ll bet never. Usually we don’t think about sunscreen unless we’re playing softball games or at the beach or the pool. And when we do think about it, we often don’t follow the instructions. Yes, the bottle says put it on 15-20 minutes or more PRIOR to going out in the sun. Summer also means less clothes, etc. So what can you do to stay safe? Don’t be outside unless you have to be – I hate to be a spoilsport but we have this thing called an ozone problem and not a lot of protection from UV rays. Wear long sleeves and pants when you can bear it in the heat. Regardless, wear a lot of sunscreen and pick one that is specific for your purpose. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and a hat to protect your head. Don’t forget sunscreen under those sandals!
2) Diving in the pool without knowing how to swim. It’s dangerous and not smart, but a lot of times we’ll splash around or let kids splash around in the pools shallow end when no one knows how to swim or there is no lifeguard on duty. Anyone can drown in just inches of water, let alone a 3 foot shallow end. You can get swimming lessons for yourself and kids on the cheap at a Y or similar club. Be safe, not sorry! It’s easy to learn how to swim!
3) Heat exhaustion. Being outdoors and not drinking enough fluids can easily have you dehydrated and your body starts to shut down or does shut down. It’s easy to avoid – carry a water bottle or 2, a hydration pack, grab some popsicles and keep yourself cool and wet down. Scout out water fountains in advance and bring your own water cooler. Avoid mixing alcohol with the heat – this can accelerate dehydration and push you over the edge. Should you feel the effects of the sun a bit too much and get nauseated or dizzy while out, go to the emergency room. They can handle your condition far easier than you could attempt in your own home.
4) Undercooked food. Summer is synonymous with grilling out. But don’t forget – the outside of the meat cooks (or looks cooked) faster than the inside. Use meat thermometers – they exist for a reason – and check the inside of your meat before serving. If it’s pink in the middle, it’s done to little!! Salmonella and E coli are not fun and definitely will impair your summertime fun. Medium well tastes just as good!
5) Bug, bugs, bugs. If you’re lucky, you don’t have many bugs this time of year outside your home. But some of the rest of us have red ants, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, fleas, etc and they are NOT fun. Be very careful and use repellents and don’t be out longer than you need to be. If you have standing water in your yard, get rid of it – it breeds mosquitoes. Tall grass can be a hiding place as well so keep it trimmed down. There are “environmentally friendly” repellents if that’s your kick. Red ants can be the worst, but bugs that bite can carry disease that can hurt you so don’t scratch and touch. Clean the bites carefully and then wash your hands carefully.
What are some of your summer health worries?