4 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy All Summer Long

Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist

4 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy All Summer Long

1. Protect your skin

One of the best things about summer is getting outside and enjoying the warm sunshine—all day and evening long. While the sun is a great (and mood-boosting) source of Vitamin D, its ultraviolet (UV) rays are a risk factor for sunburn, skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, and more.1 Here are precautions you can take to avoid the “dark sides” of sun exposure:

  • Keep in mind that sunlight and UV exposure is highest in summer months and between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.2 The sun’s rays reflect off of pavement, sand, and water—and shine through clouds—so be careful even when you’re in the shade.
  • At least 15 minutes before going outside, cover exposed skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a minimum SPF 30, and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.3
  • Wear protective clothing, such as sunglasses with full UV protection, a wide brimmed hat, and a long-sleeved shirt. 3

Get more information in Sunlight and Your Health.

2. Stay cool and hydrated

All that fun in the sun and you’re bound to break a sweat. Just make sure you’re body doesn’t get overheated, because heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion, are among the nation’s top weather-related killers.4 Here are some things you can do to stay safe:

  • Get familiar with the warning signs of heat-related illness and seek immediate medical attention if you suspect someone may have:
    • Heat stroke may be characterized by an altered mental state; fainting or loss of consciousness; rapid and strong pulse; throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; shallow breathing; body temp above 103F; or hot, red, dry, or moist skin.5
    • Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating; weakness; cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; muscle cramps; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; or fainting. 5
  • Drink water or other fluids every 15-20 minutes and avoid alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar. And if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated…so bottoms-up!6
  • Dress for the weather in lightweight, loose-fitting, single-layered, and breathable clothing.

3. Mind those bug bites

Summer months bring out the insects—and they’re sure to “bug” you at some point. While most bites and stings heal on their own, it’s important to know when you need to call for care7:

Call 911 if you spot symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:

  • Hives: sudden raised, red areas all over the body
  • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Feeling very lightheaded, weak, confused, or restless

Call your doctor if you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • A rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Belly pain, nausea, or vomiting

 

You’ll also want to contact your doctor if there’s a sign of infection around the area of the sting, such as increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth; red streaks; pus draining; a fever. If there are any overall health changes after the incident or recovery is taking longer than expected, don’t be shy: call your doctor.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for relief from minor pain and a little itching or redness at the site of the bite or sting, you can apply an ice pack, elevate the affected area of the body, or try a nonprescription medicine.

4. Look out for poisonous plants

A misstep along the trail (or even your garden!) can lead to contact with oil from poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac plants—and that means contact dermatitis. Itching, red rash, and blisters can start up any time from a few hours to several days after exposure8, so know how to help protect yourself: 

  • Know how to ID them Opens in new window so you can avoid them. 
  • When walking among plants, wear long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves.9 
  • Clean your gardening tools (and clothing) regularly.9
  • Wash your skin in soap and cool water as soon as possible if you come in contact with a poisonous plant.9

Want more ideas for a safe and healthy summer? Don’t miss:

4 Common Summer Activities that Cause Back Muscle Strains and Sprains

Summer Immunity Boosters

 

This blog post is intended for educative and entertainment purposes only. It should not be construed as a solicitation.

 

 

References: 

1 http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts
2 https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/sunexposure/default.html
3 https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/action-steps-sun-safety
4 http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/
5 http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/heat-illness.shtml
6 https://familydoctor.org/condition/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/
7 http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/insect-bites-and-stings-and-spider-bites-home-treatment
8 https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049342.htm
9 https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049342.htm

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