With the coldest days behind us, the long lazy days of summer are finally beckoning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of the sunny season!
Sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, but too much UV light from the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk for cancer. Invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50 or more for those at a higher risk of developing cancer. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating – just applying it once isn’t effective! Staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and wearing protective clothing also helps to prevent sunburn.
Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke
Too much fun in the sun can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. It’s considered a medical emergency as it can be fatal, so take a moment to learn the signs of heatstroke:
You can reduce the risk of sunburn and heatstroke by wearing light, breathable fabrics and loose clothing in light colours. Also, avoid direct sunlight when possible, drink plenty of water, and invest in a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
In hot weather, it’s important to replace the fluids your body is losing through sweating. The most effective weapon against dehydration is simple water. Alcohol and caffeine can worsen dehydration, so if you’re getting bored with plain water, add extra flavor with lemon juice, cucumber, or pieces of your favourite fruit. Dehydration can have dangerous complications such as kidney damage, kidney failure, and shock, so make sure to stay hydrated!
Prevent insect bites
Warmer weather means more insects. Some, like ticks and mosquitoes, can carry diseases like Lyme disease and Malaria so use an insect repellent to keep the critters away. Most bites and stings will heal on their own, but if you’re allergic or experience any reaction like severe pain or swelling, fever, and chills, it would be wise to consult a medical professional.
Wear long sleeves and pants whenever visiting areas that are known for ticks and to prevent mosquito bites. Stick to light fabrics – summer isn’t the best time for denim and leather. If you’ll be traveling to a Malaria hotspot, make sure to prepare accordingly and take preventative medication if necessary.
Chronic conditions and allergies
While spring and summer spell fun for most, it’s also hay fever season, and a combination of warm, humid, and windy weather can often make the symptoms of allergies and chronic conditions worse. In this instance, prevention where possible is your best option.
To prevent allergies and worsening respiratory conditions, try to remain indoors when the pollen count is high. If you need to go outside, wear a mask, consider investing in wrap-around sunglasses, and keep allergy medication close at hand.
For chronic conditions affected by heat, like arthritis and multiple sclerosis, it’s best to avoid the sun as much as possible. Schedule any activities early in the morning or evening to avoid the summer heat. Migraines can be triggered by dehydration and some medications used to treat heart conditions can also increase dehydration, so make sure to drink lots of water!
Summer is vacation season. If you have any concerns regarding your health or a chronic condition, visit your medical practitioner. Invest in a water bottle and good sunscreen, be mindful of the sun, and enjoy your summer!