Classes are finishing, days are getting longer, and nights are getting warmer. As you head into the warmer months, keep these tips in mind for a fun, safe summer.
Though skin care is important year-round, it’s arguably most important during the summer. This is because we’re much more likely to spend time outdoors during the summer, exposing our bodies to more sun and ultraviolet rays. Besides being uncomfortable, each sunburn you get increases your risk of developing skin cancers, like basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Wearing at least SPF 15 sunscreen and reapplying often, along with wearing protective clothing – like sunglasses and long-sleeve sun-protective shirts – can help prevent both sunburn and its dangerous long-term effects.
Cool and refreshing fruits and vegetables, like cucumber, watermelon, zucchini, peaches, and cherries, are in peak season during the summer. Adding these seasonal fruits and veggies to your diet can help keep you hydrated, which is especially important during warmer days. Looking to experiment with seasonal summer foods? Check out these IIN staff picks for our favorite summer recipes.
The elderly and very young are especially susceptible to summer heat. Although many people have access to air-conditioning, not everyone does. Staying hydrated is one way to help keep body temperature down, but using cold washcloths is great, too. Damp washcloths can also cool someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which can be very serious. Symptoms of heatstroke include rapid heart rate, confusion, slurred speech, red skin, and rapid breathing. If you think you or someone you’re with is getting overheated, get them in air-conditioning or shade with water to drink as soon as possible before getting them medical attention.
Summer days can get very hot. Moving workouts into air-conditioned spaces can seem unappealing, especially since we’ve all spent the last year inside. If you have to exercise outdoors, try getting an early start while it’s significantly cooler. Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing can help sweat evaporate and keep you cool during your workout. Try getting the family involved, too. Camping, hiking, riding bikes, and kayaking are all easy ways to get the kids active outdoors this summer.
Watch alcohol consumption
Lots of people enjoy drinking poolside, lakeside, and dockside in the summer, but sun and alcohol don’t mix well. Alcohol magnifies the effects of the sun and can quickly cause dehydration. Alcoholic drinks like summer-favorite hard seltzers contain about 100 calories each but only 5% alcohol by volume, so it takes more servings to feel the effects of the alcohol than with some other drinks. If you’re imbibing while in the sun, make sure you’re also drinking plenty of water.
Although you may feel like you’re drinking enough water, the sun can dehydrate you faster than you realize. On a typical day, you should drink around 13 cups, or three liters, of water; if you’re outside, that amount should increase to around four liters. Although roughly 20% of your daily fluid intake comes from the food you eat, you should focus on increasing your liquid intake during the summer months to prevent dehydration. Tired of plain water? Check out these easy ways to drink more water.
Check for ticks
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans from infected ticks and affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States each year. Preventing tick bites is the only way to avoid contracting Lyme disease. Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active from April through September. Ticks live in wooded or grassy areas, so activities like camping or hiking often bring people into close contact with them. Wearing long pants and walking in the center of trails can help prevent contact. Once you return home from an adventure, check your entire body – including your hair – for ticks.
The bottom line
The summer months are an exciting time for the whole family! From eating seasonally and enjoying the bounty of fruits and vegetables summer brings to taking advantage of longer days spent outside, staying healthy may feel easier during this time of year. Remember that while getting outside has shown to be great for physical and mental health, preventing overheating and dehydration is important as days get warmer. Following these tips can help you and your family have a happy and healthy summer.