Everyday Health: How to Avoid Seven Summer Health Hazards
Everyday Health recently interviewed Nitin Kapur, MD, MPH, a primary care physician in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, about how to protect yourself from seven of the most common summer health hazards. Kapur also shares symptoms to look out for and tips on how to prevent health and safety risks.
The first step, according to Kapur, is to avoid what she calls the "school's out" mentality, which can make adults cut corners on their health and safety during the summer. However, Kapur says, it’s “still important for people to be conscientious and aware” even when summer fun is the season’s top priority, prompting even the most conscientious adults into skipping out of work for a day at the beach.
The seven health hazards compiled by Everyday Health include heat stroke and heat exhaustion, mild and severe dehydration, sunburn and sun damage, water-related injuries, insect bites and the spread of diseases, allergies and food safety.
Kapur suggested a variety of strategies to deal with summer dangers:
- Mild and severe dehydration--“Simply put, drink lots of water throughout the day, especially when spending time outdoors in the sun," Kapur told Everyday Health.
- Heat stroke and heat exhaustion--The most dangerous heat-related illnesses are preventable, Kapur told Everyday Health. Avoid strenuous outdoor activity during extreme heat waves and during midday, when the sun is at its strongest. Call your physician if you start showing signs of heat stroke such as a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, nausea, dizziness, confusion and muscle cramps.
- Sunburn and sun damage--“Limit your time in the sun and choose a shady spot whenever possible," Kapur said. She also strongly recommended “making sunscreen a daily habit” because sun damage can happen at any time throughout the year.
- Water-related injuries--Practice swim safety by having adults trade off being the designated water watcher. When it comes to ear-related conditions and infections, Kapur recommends wearing earplugs, especially if you’re prone to swimmers ear.
- Insect bites--Even on short hikes, Kapur suggests, “use insect repellent" and tuck your socks into your pants to prevent ticks from attaching to your body.
- Allergies--Don't forget to pack your allergy medicine for outdoor adventures. Pollen can settle onto surfaces like picnic blankets and patio furniture and set off an allergic skin reaction in addition to the usual symptoms of sneezes and itchy eyes, Kapur said.
- Food safety--Kapur suggests it’s important to remember that certain foods-- especially those made with mayonaise like tuna salad and potato salad--go bad quickly without refrigeration. So Kapur urges “anyone packing a meal to-go to be mindful of refrigeration.”
Click here to read the story on Everyday Health.
Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: 8 Expert Tips to Avoid Getting Sick When You Travel