Summer in Louisiana can be a glorious time – long, hot days full of fun, friends, and great food. However, there is a balance to be struck between making the most of these beautiful days and keeping healthy. As the temperatures rise, so too do the occurrences of some common health concerns, all of which can quickly dampen the carefree days of summer. Make the most of the season by participating in your usual, fun activities, but do so while also following these summer health and safety tips:
Use and Reapply Sunscreen Daily
This is a tip that should be practiced year-round, but it becomes especially important during the summer months when sun exposure is at its very peak. Skin cancer is being diagnosed at higher rates than any other form, and UV damage from sources such as the sun and tanning beds are the primary culprits. Fortunately, we now have the knowledge and means to help protect ourselves from future sun damage. Anytime that you know you’ll be outdoors, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. When applying, take care to ensure full coverage, even in areas you may not commonly think of such as the ears, and reapply every two hours. You can also protect yourself from UV rays with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, lip balm, and by seeking shade.
Make Hydration a Priority
You’ve likely experienced some mild symptoms of dehydration before such as headache, feeling sluggish, or decreased urine output. It isn’t uncommon. After all, every cell in the human body needs water in order to function properly, so when you’re ill or simply not drinking enough, the effects can be felt. However, during the summer heat, dehydration can be exceptionally dangerous and adequate water take must become a priority. Try to drink at least 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day, choose hydrating foods such as citrus fruits or watermelon, and avoid dehydrating beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine.
Protect Against Mosquitoes and other Insects
It isn’t only people who go out more during the warmer weather, insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are also most active this time of year. Their bites can leave you itching, but they can also carry harmful diseases. Deer ticks may carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile or Zika. You can protect yourself against the bites of these common pests by covering up with long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent.
Practice Water Safety
From beach trips to swimming in the pool to taking a boat out on the lake, water-related activities are never more popular than they are during summer. Of course, this also means that water-related injuries and fatalities spike. Ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy the water safely this summer by practicing the following:
- Always wear a life jacket in a boat
- Never leave small children unsupervised and have them wear life jackets near water
- Ensure everyone can swim well and enroll those who cannot in swimming lessons
- Always follow posted rules at public pools or beaches
- Do not use alcohol while in or around water
- Ensure any privately owned pools or spas are enclosed
Make this summer one to remember by planning fun adventures and taking precautions to avoid the seasonal hazards that could get in the way. And, in the case that you do find yourself suffering from a summer injury or ailment, know that the team of doctors and nurses at Lane are here to help.