Summer is just around the corner. Swimming, playing beach volleyball, grilling, sunbathing, walking barefoot on the grass… Summer is the time for joy, love, and peace. However, with warmer weather, there come some health risks: sunburn, dehydration, damaged skin, and even heat exhaustion are all important things to think about as you begin your summer celebrations.
When we think about summer the first thing that comes to mind is the sun. We love being tan, sunbathing, and just staying outside to enjoy the sunlight and warmth. Also, sunlight brings lots of benefits, including better sleep, vitamin D, emotional well-being, and better eye health. But, too much time outside without protection can not only make you more likely to get skin cancer, but also it can make your skin age faster, causing wrinkles, a leathery texture, and dark spots. Sunburned skin uses white blood cells from your immune system to heal. This can affect your body’s ability to fight off germs and make you more likely to get sick. 5 to 15 minutes- up to 30 minutes (if you are dark-skinned) is about right to get the most out of the sun without causing any health problems.
Everyone is at risk of the effects of sun exposure. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what color your skin is. Your risk increases based on the length and depth of exposure. You are at greater risk if you have fair skin or moles. Family history of skin cancer also is a factor. People who work in the sun all day are at greater risk as well. Farmers, construction workers, and fishermen need extra protection. By protection, I mean using sunscreens, wearing cover-ups, and planning your sun exposure. The higher the SPF, the more it will protect against UV rays. The FDA suggests using SPF 15 or greater. Broad-exposure sunscreen blocks out both UVA and UVB. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. You should reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. You also should reapply after swimming or sweating. Also, you should avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. Wear clothing and hats to protect your skin from UV rays, such as sunglasses.
In summer we sometimes get lost in having fun and forget our daily intake of fluids. In the summer months you need more fluid intake,” says Dolly Doctor, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Encinitas. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on how much of your body’s fluid is lost or not replaced. Your best defense against dehydration is prevention. Staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities, and clothing during hot weather can help keep you safe and healthy. Here are some tips to prevent dehydration in summer:
- Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink. Drink more fluids than usual when the weather is hot, especially if you’re active. Sip water through the day if possible. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables. Fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, and pineapples; vegetables such as cucumbers, leafy greens, radishes, celery, zucchini, and tomatoes are all great sources of water.
- Stay inside when it gets too hot. On very hot days, stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, try a shopping center, movie theater, or public library.
- Dress for the weather. Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that lets your skin breathe. Dark colors absorb heat, so stick with lighter shades.
Also, if you don’t like the taste of water and find it very bland, you can always add flavors to your water according to your taste.
MayoClinic defines heat stored as a condition caused by your bıdy overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Some symptoms of heatstrokes include high body temperature, altered mental state or behavior, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and headache. Heatstrokes are really important and should be taken seriously. Here are some ways to prevent them from happening:
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
- Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 11 C) in 10 minutes.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.
If you be careful in these situations, you will make the best out of this summer. Enjoy the warm weather, take your mind off the negative thoughts and just be in the moment. Summer is a great time to achieve goals and have fun. Just be mindful of these cautions so that you will not deal with any of them and fully enjoy the summer.
“Heatstroke – Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 1 July 2021, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581#:%7E:text=Heatstroke%20is%20a%20condition%20caused,common%20in%20the%20summer%20months.
O’Shea, Sean. “Dehydration Pro Tips.” AEC Living, 9 Sept. 2020, http://www.aecliving.com/dehydration-pro-tips.
Rice, Alex. “Effects of Sun Exposure.” Familydoctor.Org, 26 Feb. 2021, familydoctor.org/effects-early-sun-exposure/#:%7E:text=When%20your%20body%20defends%20itself,%2C%20damage%2C%20or%20develop%20cancer.
Scripps Health. “How to Stay Hydrated in the Summer Heat.” Scripps Health, 21 Jan. 2022, http://www.scripps.org/news_items/6387-how-to-stay-hydrated-in-the-summer-heat.
“Skin Protection from Sun Damage.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/5240-sun-damage-protecting-yourself. Accessed 14 Apr. 2022.
“Summer Cautions | Imperial County Public Health Department.” Imperial County Public Health Department, http://www.icphd.org/environmental-health/animal-care-and-control/program-services/summer-cautions. Accessed 14 Apr. 2022.
“Sunlight and Your Health.” WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-sunlight-health-effects#:%7E:text=Sunlight%20helps%20boost%20a%20chemical,with%20natural%20or%20artificial%20light. Accessed 14 Apr. 2022.