Summer is a time for rest and relaxation, sunshine and vacations. But summer fun comes with the potential for serious health risks. This summer, take a few simple steps to help prevent common health issues and avoid frequent visits to the doctor’s office.
When you’re out enjoying the summer sun, remember that you’re at a greater risk of developing a heat-related illness or skin cancer from prolonged exposure to the heat and the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. The same goes for doing any level of manual labor or playing outside during the warmer months. Even young, healthy people can get sick from the heat, and prevention is the best defense for heat-related illnesses.
Tips for heat and sun protection
Take these important steps to protect yourself from the heat and sun.
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car for any duration of time, even if the windows are down.
- Dress in light-colored, lightweight and loose clothing, and schedule demanding outdoor activities during the cooler morning or evening hours.
- Stay hydrated when spending time in the heat.
- Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 protection anytime you go outside to protect your skin. It only takes a few serious sunburns to dramatically increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Protect yourself from insect bites
Summer also means more bugs. In addition to itchy discomfort, insects like ticks and mosquitoes can cause harmful diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus, respectively.
Cases of these viruses increase significantly during the summer in the United States. Lyme disease can cause you to experience flu-like symptoms, along with joint pain and weakness in the limbs, while West Nile virus can lead to a high fever and other negative symptoms.
Take these steps to protect yourself from insect bites:
- Always use insect repellent before going outside.
- Check yourself and your children for mosquito bites and ticks after outdoor activities.
- Remove leaf piles or unkempt yard waste from recreation areas to help deter ticks and create a buffer between wooded areas and lawns with gravel or mulch to restrict tick migration into frequently used areas.
- Use citronella candles to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
Summertime activity safety
Fun summer activities like swimming can also cause risks. Here are some key actions to stay safe.
- Always supervise children when they are in or around the pool or another body of water to avoid water-related accidents.
- Take the time to teach kids about water safety and how to swim.
- Learn CPR; it’s helpful not just for summer, but also throughout the year.
Taking simple, preventive and precautionary steps is the best way to reduce your risk for health issues this summer. Think about your planned activities ahead of time and have preventive solutions to any health-related issues that could occur. Avoid these illnesses and more, and have a safe and memorable summer.