By Stu Jones, PA, MPH
It’s July 2021 and summer is here. I can’t believe how far we have come in such a short time, and life at least to me feels like it’s slowly getting back to “Normal.” It’s a great time to be outside and enjoy time with family and friends. Have a safe, healthy summer with these simple tips!
1. Seems Simple, but Watch Out for the sun
When we think of summer, we think of sunny days spent outside. Make sure you take proper precautions to protect your skin against burns and long-term damage such as skin cancer. Apply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 30-50 or higher. Discard if the expiration date has passed. Limit sun exposure from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM when the sun is its strongest! Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and a hat with a brim, and always wear sunglasses with a high UV rating generally above 50 is recommended.
2. Diet is Key
One of the best things about summer is the ability to access lots of great food groups that are fresh and healthy. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with health benefits. Summertime is a great time to think about eating your colors such as fresh corn, which has natural antioxidants and benefits for your eyes, tomatoes contain lycopene and may protect your skin from sunburn, watermelon keeps you hydrated, and raspberries are a great source of fiber.
3. Stay Cool
Heat-related illness is serious.Drink lots of water, wear loose fitting clothing and exercise in the early morning or evening to keep your body temperature in check. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and find a cool place to lie down if you don’t feel well.
4. Protect Against Bugs and Poisonous Plants
Gardening, camping, hiking, and many other outdoor activities are great ways to enjoy exercise and nature. However, poisonous plants, such as Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac, as well as ticks and other parasites, can put a damper on your outdoor adventures. Decrease your risk by using protective clothing, such as long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and vinyl gloves, as well as lotions, creams, and sprays that protect against bugs and poisonous plants. Try to be familiar with what some of those look like and discuss these as a family.
5. Stay In Shape.
We’re often more conscious of what we eat in the summer since we’re more likely to squeeze into shorts, bathing suits and sleeveless tops. Summertime is a great time to start healthy habits that can last all year, such as cutting back on high-fat meats and heavy salad dressings. Try adding healthy grains to your diet instead of chips and snacks, and drinking lots of water. It’s also a great time to take advantage of longer days and start an exercise plan.
We at Medical HouseCalls hope you have a great summer!