6 Important Health Tips for the Summer
Many people believe that they don’t need to take care of themselves in the summer as they do in the winter. After all, the weather is warm and there’s less of a need to bundle up and head for the chicken soup when you start sneezing.
However, summer has its own health pitfalls. In order to care for yourself during the warm, muggy months of June through September, you need to know what to do. Here are seven tips that will get you started off on the right foot.
1) Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen and sunblock are vitally important. It’s too easy to go out without wearing either one, which can lead to a number of issues, including sunburns of various degrees. Even a simple sunburn can be quite painful, however, the worst of them lead to blisters and possibly permanent scarring.
Over time, too much sun can lead to skin cancer, some forms of which can spread quickly and lead to death. In order to properly care for yourself, you need to wear at least some form of sunscreen when you’re going to be outside for some time.
2) Stay Hydrated
The hot summer weather might be great to walk around in, as long as you stay properly hydrated. Remember that you’re dehydrated before you feel the signs of thirst. When the thermometer is about 70 degrees, you’re very susceptible to heatstroke (more on this later), so make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
If you aren’t sure if you’re properly hydrated or not, there are some tests you can do. The first is to note how often you’ve urinated. If it’s only been once or twice during the course of six hours, then you aren’t properly hydrated at all and need to get to some water quickly.
Secondly, pinch your skin and note how quickly it goes back to its original size and shape. If it takes longer than 30 seconds, then you’re not hydrated and need some water.
3) Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke is no laughing matter. You not only need to stay properly hydrated throughout the day, but you also need to know what the signs of heatstroke are so that you can get out of the sun and drink water if you notice them coming in.
The main symptoms include confusion, grogginess, dizziness, nausea, a headache, lack of sweating, vomiting, weakness, cramps, and generally feeling unpleasant. If you don’t get out of the sun right away and don’t do anything about the heatstroke, you may end up passing out, having a seizure, and even death. Don’t mess around with heatstroke. Know the signs and protect yourself.
4) Protect Yourself from Insects
While many people believe that insects are good (after all, bees make honey, right?) some insects are not good at all. Mosquitos are the main culprits here. You don’t want to get bitten by them if you can avoid it. At the very least, you’ll end up with a raised, itchy bump and possibly a scar or infection if you scratch it.
However, many mosquitos carry things like the West Nile Virus and other harmful diseases that are transmitted by their saliva. This can obviously lead to many issues. Then there are ticks. They carry a number of diseases as well, particularly Lyme disease, which leads to crippling ailments that can linger for years, even when properly diagnosed.
Overall, you need to take precautions in order to avoid getting bitten by either of these insects. Use bug spray, light citronella candles, and make sure to dress in ways that protect your skin.
5) Don’t Wear Dark Clothing at Night
Those long summer days can lead to nights full of fun. There’s nothing quite like taking a walk outside at dusk when the weather is in the mid-70s. You get the full effect of summertime that way – warm breezes, flowing conversation, and everything that goes along with it.
However, if you wear dark clothing at night, cars and other people may not be able to see you, which can lead to some detrimental health defects. No one wants to get hit by a car, so make sure to wear something that’s bright and reflective.
6) Avoid Food Poisoning
Summer picnics are great fun – until someone winds up with food poisoning. Foods that are made with dairy products, like cheesecake, macaroni salad, and potato salad, can leave you in gastrointestinal distress if you leave them out in the sun for too long.
Avoid this by placing these foods in a cooler with plenty of ice and eat them with caution. Check their temperature before eating them. You don’t want to wind up in the hospital with food poisoning when you could be outdoors having fun in the sun.
This article is a work of John Wells in support of Samitivej Hospital, Thailand.