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While the weather is more unpredictable than in decades past, the summer heat is sneaking into the weather forecast! Staying healthy during summer includes some tips that are rooted in common sense. However, for the busy caregiver, it is easy to forget, not have the time, or take care of our loved ones better than we do ourselves.
So we are sharing this reminder from MetroWest Medical Center on the most basic health tips to protect you and your loved ones from preventable summer health issues.
Sunburn – Almost everyone has had their skin scorched at least once in their lifetime. Sunburns are painful, uncomfortable and can increase your risk of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen and lip screen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Remember to reapply it as needed and when you get out of the water. Cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect exposed skin. Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids. Seek shade. When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Heat Stroke & Dehydration – Dehydration can be a serious heat-related disease that happens with a combination of overexposure to the sun and not drinking enough water. Our bodies make a tremendous amount of internal heat and we normally cool ourselves by sweating and radiating heat through the skin. In extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous activity in the hot sun, this cooling system may begin to fail. If a person becomes dehydrated and cannot sweat enough to cool his or her body, his or her internal temperature may rise to dangerously high levels causing heat stroke. To avoid heat-related illnesses, drink plenty of fluids, especially when working or playing in the sun. Make sure you are taking in more fluid than you are losing. Try to schedule physical outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day, like early in the morning or in the evening.
Bug Bites – Sorry bugs, but no one wants you at their summer shindigs. In order to avoid these pesky creatures use insect repellent and citronella candles. If you’re heading into the woods, skip the shorts and tanks and cover up with lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Install or repair window and door screens on your house. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by dumping any sitting water around your property.
Fireworks Injuries – A summer isn’t complete without some sort of July 4th fireworks celebration. It’s important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous and it’s best to leave the displays to trained professionals. Never allow kids to play with or ignite fireworks. Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks and have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
Water Safety – Pools, lakes, rivers and oceans. One of the best ways to cool off during the hot summer months is to jump into the nearest body of water. In order to avoid the potential for drownings, learn how to swim, and never swim alone. Wear a life jacket and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while boating.
Summer Feet – It’s sandal season. Whether you are biking, walking or hiking, your feet will be carrying you through however you spend your time outside. Limit walking barefoot. It exposes feet to sunburn, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm and other infections. Going barefoot also increases risk of injury and raises the risk of picking up foreign bodies like stepping on glass or splinters. Wear shoes or flip-flops to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections. To keep your feet from swelling due to heat, stay hydrated.
Food Poisoning – Food-borne illnesses peak in the summer months since hot temps and humid conditions provide the optimum breeding ground for bacteria to multiply rapidly. Be especially wary of food that’s been sitting out in the sun all day and wash your hands properly before eating. Make sure to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs in your cooler to ensure a constant cold temperature.