Last updated on August 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm
While summer means lots of fun (think sunshine and cookouts), it also brings health hazards. We reviewed four common dangers and gathered summer health tips from the experts to help keep you and your family safe.
What it is: Heatstroke is caused by the body overheating, usually from excessive exposure to, or strenuous activity in, high temperatures. Other contributing factors include wearing excess clothing, alcohol consumption and dehydration.
How to treat it: You, or someone you know, might have heatstroke from being overheated. Check for unusual signs, including:
- Slurred speech
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing or racing heart rate
- Throbbing headache
If you start to see some of those signs, seek emergency help immediately. While you wait for emergency personnel, cool down as quickly as you can by going indoors or into the shade, and removing excessive clothing.
How to avoid it: Avoid activity during the hottest parts of the day. Wear loose clothing, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and drink plenty of water. If you take medications, check to see if they affect your body’s hydration level. Also, never leave anyone, including pets, in a parked vehicle.
What it is: Literally skin that’s been burned by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Skin may be pink or red, feel warm to the touch, swell, be tender, itch or develop blisters. Severe sunburn may be accompanied by a headache, fever, chills and fatigue.
How to treat it: Over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce pain and swelling from sunburn. Applying moisturizer or aloe vera may also help reduce pain and swelling, and encourage healing. Drink plenty of water to help the skin recover.
How to avoid it: Base tans won’t protect you. Instead, try a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, and apply it often and generously. You can also sport sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and special clothing with SPF protection. Read more about protective clothing and its unique SPF rating system.
What it is: An allergic reaction to a bite or sting from any one of the many bugs that come out to play during the summer, including mosquitoes, spiders, bees or ants. You don’t need to have a history of severe allergic reactions to experience one. If you have difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, eyelids or throat, or have dizziness, hives or similar symptoms, seek emergency help immediately.
How to treat it: If you’re bitten or stung, move away from the area to avoid more bites or stings. Once you’re safe, remove any stingers, if needed, and wash the area with soap and water. Follow with a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling. Over-the-counter medications can also help.
How to avoid it: Bug sprays will help keep some bugs, like mosquitoes, at bay. When it comes to other bugs such as spiders or wasps, be aware of your surroundings. For instance, if you upset a wasp, yellow jacket or hornet nest, they’ll become aggressive and sting you repeatedly. To read about what to do in the event of a wasp attack, click here.
What it is: When your body uses or loses more fluid than it takes in, it can’t carry out normal functions.
How to treat it: Mild dehydration can usually be reversed by drinking more water. If you’re experiencing extreme thirst, little or no urination, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion, seek help right away.
How to avoid it: Drink plenty of water or sports drinks and eat foods that have high water content, like fruits and veggies. On really humid days, you’ll want to drink extra water to make up for the extra sweat factor. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should drink 13 eight-ounce glasses of water in a day and women should drink nine eight-ounce glasses of water in a day.
Plymouth Rock wants everyone to have a safe, healthy and fun summer. What are some of your top summer health tips? Please share a comment to help keep everyone safe this season.