Summer Health Tips
Summer is the time for outdoor fun and making memories you’ll never forget, but it’s also the season for a lot of health and safety issues. Whether your primary goal is to protect your skin, stay safe on the water, survive the heat, or prevent West Nile virus, these health tips from Fulton County Medical Center will help ensure you have a fun, safe summer.
Protect Your Skin
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, yet it’s also the most preventable. Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is the number one cause of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Unprotected skin begins getting damaged in as little as 15 minutes in the sun. Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays still reach your skin and cause harm.
Although anyone can get skin cancer, your risk increases if you have:
- A light natural skin tone
- Blonde or red hair
- Blue or green eyes
- Skin that burns, freckles, or reddens easily in the sun
- A family history of skin cancer
- A personal history of sunburns, especially in your youth
Whether you have a high risk of skin cancer or not, follow these summer health tips:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated at 15 SPF or higher.
- Apply sunscreen before going outside for any longer than 15 minutes, and reapply every two hours or anytime you dry off with a towel.
- Wear a hat, long sleeves, long pants, and sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
- Seek shade under a tree or umbrella when you need relief from the sun.
- Avoid outdoor activities between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when the sun is at its most intense.
Stay Safe on the Water
Swimming, water skiing, boating, and other water-related activities are a great way to beat the heat and get some physical exercise this summer. Prevent any incidents from disrupting your fun with these water safety tips:
- Sign up your children for swimming lessons. The chances of drowning reduce significantly if they feel comfortable in the water.
- Make sure a responsible adult is present to supervise children when playing in or around water, including the bathtub. Drowning can occur quickly, so don’t be distracted by other activities like card games, reading, or talking on the phone.
- Make sure everyone wears a properly fitting lifejacket while riding on a boat. Equip children with lifejackets while spending time around any natural body of water, even if they know how to swim.
- Learn CPR. This life-saving skill could prevent a tragedy.
- If you have a backyard swimming pool, install a fence with a single gated entrance.
- Shower for one minute before jumping into a recreational pool. This removes dirt and contaminants from your body that could overburden the chlorine in the water and cause illnesses to spread to others.
Stay Safe from the Heat
Warming summer temperatures create the opportunity to play outside, but overheating is a real danger, especially for young children, the elderly, and those with heart disease or high blood pressure. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body’s temperature regulation system becomes overloaded. High temperatures alone can do this, but strenuous physical activities put even more strain on your body’s ability to regulate temperature. Keep your family safe from the heat with these tips:
- Stay in an air-conditioned interior as much as possible. If you don’t have central air conditioning, consider installing window AC units this time of year.
- Cool off by placing a wet towel around your neck. You can also take a lukewarm shower or bath.
- Keep a water bottle with you and sip from it often. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink since this is a sign that you’re already dehydrated.
- Opt for sports drinks during physical exercise to replenish salts and electrolytes lost when you sweat.
- Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks, which can dehydrate you.
- Limit strenuous physical activity to cooler times of the day.
- Spend time outside during the morning and evening hours when the heat is less intense.
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even if you pull into a shady spot or roll the windows partway down.
- Dress babies and children in lightweight seasonal clothing.
- Seek medical care immediately if a loved one shows signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Symptomsmay include high body temperature, excessive sweating, feeling faint, and having red or pale skin.
Prevent Playground Injuries
Emergency departments across the US treat over 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground injuries every year. About 10 percent of these cases involve traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. Keep your child safe at the park with these tips:
- Inspect playground equipment for rust, faulty guardrails, or broken equipment before allowing your children to play.
- Make sure the playground equipment has a soft surface material beneath it, such as wood chips, mulch, or sand.
- Look for tripping hazards in the play area, such as stumps or large rocks. Remove the hazard if possible, or instruct your children to steer clear of it.
- Supervise your children when they play around hazardous areas of the park, such as the monkey bars, swings, and slides.
Keep Summer Pests at Bay
From mosquitoes and ticks to bees and wasps, pests are at their worst in the summertime. Follow these suggestions to protect your family from mosquito and tick bites that can cause insect-transmitted diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, and Lyme disease:
- Wear EPA-registered insect repellentwhen playing outdoors, especially in wooded areas and at dusk or dawn. Reapply as directed.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and close-toed shoes when exploring wooded areas or spending time outside at dusk or dawn.
- Once a week, dump out kiddy pools, bird baths, buckets, rain barrels, and other vessels in your yard containing standing water to remove mosquito breeding grounds.
- Closely examine yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after spending time in wooded areas.
Prevent bee and wasp stings with these tips:
- Steer clear of beehives and wasp nests.
- Don’t wear brightly colored clothing or floral-scented perfumes.
- Avoid growing flowers in your yard that attract bees.
- While outside, drink juice and soda from a bottle with the lid on between sips.
- Keep garbage cans tightly covered.
- If a bee flies around you or lands on you, stay calm. Swatting the bee or flailing your arms could upset the insect and encourage it to sting.
Come to Fulton County Medical Center with any Health Problems this Summer
Whether you need emergency medical services to address a case of heatstroke, or you need wound care services after an accident on the playground, Fulton County Medical Center can serve you. For over 65 years, our Fulton County, PA medical center has provided comprehensive services to patients of all ages in our community.
If you or a loved one experiences a health problem this summer, please call us at (717) 485-3155 with any questions you have or to schedule an appointment.