With spring just getting started, summer is right around the corner. No matter what you’ve got planned, you likely want to spend your time in the sun healthy and feeling your best. While scheduling a checkup with your doctor and a dentist like George Hatzigiannis is great to ensure you start the season off right and in great physical as well as dental health, there are several health risks to make yourself aware of that commonly crop up during the warmer months of the year.
Recreational Water Illness
Do you plan on spending some time in the pool? If so, you should be aware of what’s known as recreational water illness. Public swimming pools are known to contain bacteria that can lead to a number of infections, including those of the throat, ear, gastrointestinal system and eye. You mainly want to make sure you don’t swallow any of the water in a public swimming pool. To better make sure you aren’t contributing to the problem yourself, you’ll want to shower before you get into the pool and again when you get out.
While skin cancer is one of the more common summer health risks, it’s still one that bears mentioning on this list. Every year, more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer, but thankfully, it can be successfully treated if it’s caught early. Wearing sunscreen is the best option for everyone, but those who are especially susceptible to skin cancer include:
- Anyone over the age of 50
- People who spend a lot of time outside during the day
- Those who are fair-skinned
- Anyone who has a family history of skin cancer
The lawn mowers come out in full force during the summer, and the same is true of injuries caused by mowing. To better protect your toes, hands and fingers, get into the habit of wearing closed-toed shoes as well as gloves and long pants while you’re mowing. You might be warmer than you’d like, but at least you’ll have all your body parts. Additionally, keep kids and pets away from mowers, and only professionals should service your machine.
Boats become just as commonplace as mowers in the summer. Most boating accidents are the result of drinking alcohol. Boaters and passengers can fall into the water and drown, or get hit by a propeller. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself while you’re out on the water, but take it easy on the imbibing. And be sure everyone wears a lifejacket, no matter how well they can swim.
Because of the warm summer temperatures, foodborne illness has more of an opportunity to spread. All meat should be thoroughly cooked and wrapped well while inside a cooler with other food to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods. Be aware that any dishes that contain mayonnaise, dairy or eggs are also at risk of becoming contaminated when exposed to heat. When everyone has had their fill of food, all leftovers should be wrapped up and put in the fridge within two hours.
Even if you’ll be spending your time outside just in your backyard, you’ve got to be careful that you don’t become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and liquids that contain electrolytes. Spend as much of your time outside in the shade, and take care of the most physically taxing outdoor activities in the early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t shining down as hard and the temperatures aren’t as unforgiving. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth and feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
Keep yourself from becoming a statistic by being safe while around fireworks. Besides exploding fireworks, sparklers can also lead to injuries, especially considering the fact that they burn at the same temperature as a blowtorch. Attending a professional fireworks show is your best bet to avoid injuries and a trip to the emergency room. If you still choose to put on a show yourself, make sure you and everyone else take every safety precaution necessary, having a first aid kit, water hose and fire extinguisher close at hand.
Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy a nice summer day. Wasps and bees aren’t always easily noticeable, but their stings most certainly are. For some, a sting can lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction. Stinging insects are attracted to heavy scents and perfumes, floral patterns, dark-colored clothing and the sugar in drinks. If you’re ever stung and experience disorientation, hives over large areas of your skin, a swollen face or tongue or breathing problems, it’s best that you get yourself to the emergency room or a doctor as soon as possible.
As you’re making your plans for the summer, do yourself a favor and keep the above health risks in mind. A few precautions and a little foresight can keep you out of the hospital and in high spirits.