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Top 4 Health Threats to Guard Against This Summer

Top 4 Health Threats to Guard Against This Summer

  • Genna Heintzkill
  • Mar 28, 2019

Summertime is all about fun and games in the great outdoors -- but there's nothing fun or frivolous about the health challenges you may encounter at this otherwise-festive time of year. Let's look at four seasonal concerns to watch out for, along with smart strategies for overcoming them.

Skin Cancer

In addition to the warm, welcoming thermal rays that makes summertime special, our sun also bathes us in dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UVA and UVB rays can cause not only blistering sunburns but also skin cancer, including deadly melanoma. Always wear generous amounts of sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB (check the label), reapplying that sunscreen every couple of hours or as the instructions direct to maintain protection. Wraparound sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat will provide additional protection for your head, face and eyes.

Heat Stroke

Summer heat isn't just uncomfortable; it can prove downright unhealthy. Heat stroke is an emergency situation that may cause brain damage, shock, organ failure and death. It's preceded by the less alarming (but no less uncomfortable) effects of heat exhaustion. If hot conditions and dehydration send your body temperature out of control, you'll experience vomiting, nausea, sweating, dizzy spells, a racing heart, disorientation and cold, clammy skin. To combat this danger, limit outdoor activities during the hottest days and wear light-colored clothing to deflect some of the heat. Drink plenty of water, but not exclusively -- replace minerals and electrolytes as well by consuming the occasional sports drink.

Pests

Flea, ticks and mosquitoes tend to run rampant in warmer weather. These little creatures can cause big health problems, from tapeworms and bubonic plague to Lyme disease and, more recently, the Zika virus. Keep fleas and ticks at bay by mowing your lawn fairly short and discarding any piles of organic debris. Place your pets on pest control medications. To keep mosquitoes away, fix or remove any sources of standing water in or around the home, and make sure all your window and door seals are tight.

Swimming

Summertime is swimming time, but this favorite activity can turn the good times bad in a hurry. Pool chlorine can hurt your eyes, while microorganisms in contaminated water have been known it infect swimmers with everything from intestinal upsets to deadly brain-eating amoeba and septic shock. Use protective goggles to keep chlorine out of your eyes, shower before and after your swim, and avoid swallowing water if possible. Don't go into the water at all if you have open wounds, including still-healing tattoos.

These simple tips can help you keep your family healthy and happy all summer long. Have fun, and stay safe!

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