During the summer months, you can suffer from a variety of sun-related issues including sunburn, heat-stroke, and dehydration. Plus you have to watch for other things that can affect your health. It is important to follow safety guidelines to stay healthy during the summer so you can enjoy every day to its fullest.
Millions of people each year receive sunburns of different magnitudes that can even increase the risk of skin cancer. It is important that you have a set of guidelines to follow when out in the sun at picnics, sporting events, or at the beach. Here are some simple steps to help prevent sunburns and dehydration.
Other health hazards during the summer include bug bites and illness caused by the foods we eat. Here are some simple steps to help stay healthy during the summer.
Sunscreen and Shade
Always go with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of protection. Always apply sunscreen at least 10 – 20 minutes before you head outdoors. If you plan on going swimming, make sure that you re-apply your sunscreen after you get out just in case the previous sunscreen has washed away.
Choose Outdoor Time Wisely
Depending on your plans for the day, try to accommodate some shade into your activities. This way you can protect yourself from sunburn without having to worry about how much sunscreen you use and what clothes you’re wearing. Peak hours of the sun are usually anywhere from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. This can also vary based on where you live.
Have a Shaded Oasis
Create an area in your backyard that’s shaded by a large canopy, tent, or another type of shade. Plant some shade trees. They not only will be enjoyed by your family, but they will also welcome birds and animals to come to visit. Trees can help decrease the temperature around your home, helping save energy and make your yard more enjoyable to use.
We often think of summer outfits with shorts, tank tops, and sandals. But sometimes you need a little more protection to stay healthy during the summer. Trust me when I say this is for both children and adults. As a fair-skinned child, I had my share of bad sunburns.
Sheilding the Sun
If the weather isn’t too hot or humid, you can wear jeans and a long-sleeved shirt to help block out the sun. If the weather is just too hot for that, make sure you use the proper amount of sunscreen on any bare spots of your body. Or, you can wear light clothing that still offers some protection from the sun.
Consider wearing a hat, because hats can help block out the sun from your face and scalp. Sunglasses are also very important, especially if you’re at the pool or beach where the sun’s light is heightened and reflected off of the sand and water.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
Wearing the right clothing is also important to help prevent bug bites, especially when you’re hiking or camping in the woods. Mosquitos, ticks, fleas, spiders, and ants not only bite but can make you ill. Wear protective footwear, pants, and shirts when in the woods or backyard if you notice a lot of bugs. Use bug repellent on your skins and clothes to deter the bugs.
Dehydration is another serious part of the summer months. Mainly people in physical activities or outdoor work will have the highest risk of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can also lead to heat exhaustion and sometimes even heat stroke. It is important to keep cool and always drink a lot of water when outside.
It’s not just when you’re outside that you need to stay hydrated. Each day you should try to drink about 8 glasses of water, or about 64 ounces, for adults. This helps prevent a lot of health issues that can be brought on or made worse from chronic dehydration. While caffeinated drinks contain water, the caffeine depletes your body of water because it’s a diuretic.
Adding Flavor or Fizz
There are lots of ways to make drinking water easier. You can create infused water drinks by adding fruit, mint, or cucumber slices. Prefer fizzy drinks? Try it with seltzer water instead of regular water. And, if you can stay away from sugary or imitation sugars, that’s a better choice.
You’ll find yourself in many situations where food is abundant making it very hard to resist it. Here are some things to be more mindful of during cookouts, picnics, and other summertime meals.
Eat lighter foods than you would during cold months. Heavy foods can make you feel very full and uncomfortable. Think of recipes made for the summer: fresh dishes of fruits and veggies. And fill in with some of the heavier dishes like pasta salads or desserts. Make your sandwich an open face and save about half the calories of a whole bun. Enjoy your favorite foods while being mindful of the quantities.
And speaking of eating foods outside, make sure they are kept cool enough to avoid food poisoning. The FDA recommends:
Cold perishable food should be kept in the cooler at 40 °F or below until serving time.
- Once you’ve served it, it should not sit out for longer than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 °F. If it does — discard it.
- Foods like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
Hot foods also have guidelines to follow. It should be kept hot, at or above 140 °F.
- Wrap it well and place it in an insulated container until serving.
- Just as with cold food — these foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F. If food is left out longer, throw it away to be safe.
Summertime is that time of year when you want to take it easy relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. The last thing you want to worry about is getting a sunburn, bitten up by bugs, or sick from the food you eat. We hope these tips help you and your family stay healthy during the summer.