Summer weather seems especially brutal this year! Whether you're in the north, south, east, or west you are likely dealing with increased sun exposure, mosquitoes, heat, and more. No matter where you are or what your plans are this summer, there is a way to plan for the best, and prepare for the worst.
While indoors and out make sure you're taking in enough water. Iced water may be what you crave and may help cool you while working or playing outside, but the goal is to drink enough H2O. If you're overheated and would rather reach for a cold soda, think again. Your body needs water to lower your temperature, but also to help it function properly. Pay attention to signs of dehydration, including extreme thirst, dark urine, inability to urinate, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. It's also important to ward against heat exhaustion while spending time outdoors this summer.
There is a movement away from chemical sunscreens, but in many cases sun exposure can leave devastating and lasting results that are 100 percent avoidable with protection. It's important to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays that can burn the surface of the skin and affect the immune system, the skin's elasticity, and more. The best way to protect your skin year-round is using a SPF (sun protection factor) sunblock. Choose a sunblock that is SPF 30 or higher, and make sure that your lips and eyes are protected as well. Wear SPF chopstick, sunglasses, and hats to protect against the rays this summer.
Burns, Bites, Cuts, and Stings
Since it's summer and kids are home 24/7 it may be a good idea to restock the first aid kit. Make sure it has bandages, ointments for bites, stings, and burns, and antibiotic wash or ointment for cuts. You can protect yourself and family from bug bites by using a bug repellent. Remember, mosquito and tick-born diseases are on the rise in the U.S. Insect bites can also cause allergic reactions.
Even people who have never experienced allergies may have a reaction without warning. You might have an allergy from an insect bite, a plant you've come into contact with, and even your laundry soap. The heat of summer can cause your body to react differently to even a fragrance you've never had a reaction to. While preparing your first aid kit for summer, include Hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl, and cleansing wipes that can clean the skin of irritants. You can also keep allergy medications on hand such as Claritin or Allegra so that you don't have to run to the drug store in a pinch. To avoid exposure to allergens and poisonous plants, stay on a path when hiking in nature and wear a mask and eye protection when trimming grass.
See Your Doctor
Summer is a great time to see your family doctor. Take your kids in while they are out of school so they won't miss any classes for their routine visit. Also, if you have experienced new or serious allergies this summer, you should see your doctor. You may need a prescription medication to prevent life-threatening reactions to serious allergies. For instance, many insect and food allergies require epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you haven't been seen in the last 12 months.