With the summer months officially upon us, it’s safe to say that most of us are more than happy to be shedding our heavy winter coats to trade them out for comfortable cotton t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. However, despite popular misconceptions, the summertime isn’t exactly a disease or injury-free zone. Even though we’re more likely to fall ill during the wintertime due to sharing close proximity with our friends and loved ones, it doesn’t mean we can be careless now that the warmer months are here.
In reality, you’re just as likely to suffer from a disease — or even other, non-viral health issues — during the summer as you would in the winter. After all, bacteria don’t simply go into hiding when the mercury rises, right? Whether you’re looking to travel during your summer break, or you’re more the type to enjoy a “staycation,” remaining healthy this summer doesn’t have to be some impossible task. By following these four tips, you can help ensure that you and your family are able to stay healthy not only during the summer, but also throughout the entire year!
When the temperatures start to creep into the triple digits, nothing sounds more refreshing than savoring an ice-cold drink. There’s something about a frosty beverage, filled to the brim with ice cubes, that seems to hit the spot. Whether it’s a glass of water or it’s some lip-puckering lemonade, it’s the perfect foil to the summer heat. However, if you’re the type to want to reach for an adult beverage to cool off from the summer heat, you just might want to think again.
While the idea of having a beer or a cocktail on a hot summer’s day may sound good in the moment, it’s actually one of the worst things you could drink on a hot day. The fact is, alcoholic beverages are actually diuretics, which means they can quickly lead to dehydration for you. Sure, it may taste delicious, but if you’re sweating a lot and out in the direct sunlight, it could lead to heatstroke and other serious issues. Instead, trade out that hard ice tea with a decaffeinated herbal tisane.
There’s nothing more attractive than a golden, glowing tan to signal that you’re young and in good health, right? Wrong. A tan is actually a sign of sun damage, and over time, it could lead to more serious skin issues for you. Not only does tanning increase your risk of premature wrinkles and sunspots (melasma), but it can also greatly increase your chance of developing skin cancer later on in life. Research has shown that even just one sunburn in life can lead to significantly higher chances of melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer.
That said, sunblock should be used all year ‘round, and not just in the summer months. Be sure to apply it at least half an hour before you go outside. You should also reapply it every two hours when you’re outdoors. However, if you’re going to be sweating heavily, or you’re swimming, then you’ll want to apply it more frequently. Look for a minimum of SPF 30, which is the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation. And finally, people of all skin tones should apply sunblock, not just fair-skinned individuals.
When you think of summer fare, what comes to mind? Is it late-afternoon barbeques, complete with hot dogs and burgers on the grill? Maybe it’s eating potato chips by the pool, and chasing it down with a cold soft drink. Sure, these foods are good every once in a while, but you really don’t want to let them comprise the majority of your diet. Instead, reach for more fruits and vegetables, as the summertime is the perfect season for fresh and delicious produce.
Peaches, cherries, and strawberries are usually at their peak ripeness in the summer, making them a delicious snack or dessert on a hot day. And who is going to say no to a juicy wedge of watermelon on a summer’s day? This doesn’t mean you have to give up grilling, either. Instead, consider leaner options (such as shrimp or tofu skewers with fresh red peppers and broccoli) to throw on the barbeque. That way, you can enjoy the best of what summer eating has to offer, without feeling like you’re making any sacrifices.
If you’re like most adults, it’s likely that you already had all your immunizations as a child. However, just because you have already been vaccinated does not mean that you shouldn’t consider getting a booster shot. While many vaccines can last for several years, their efficacy can start to wear off over time. If it has been longer than ten years since your last series of vaccinations, or if you’re planning on traveling abroad this summer, then now is the perfect time to get a booster shot.
Getting a vaccine booster doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a long day at your local doctor’s office, either. Many can be scheduled online, at your local neighborhood pharmacy, allowing you the flexibility to get it when your schedule allows it. For instance, getting a Tdap vaccine at CVS is not only incredibly simple to do, but it’s also much more affordable than you might realize. And by doing so, you can rest assured that you’re keeping your body safe from these very serious viruses for many more years.
The summertime should mean long, lazy days by the pool, chasing twinkling fireflies at dusk, and spending time with your loved ones. To avoid unwanted health issues arising out of seemingly nowhere and putting a cramp on your summer plans, it’s wise to plan ahead to help ensure you and your family’s safety during the warmer months. By following these four tips, you can be confident knowing that you’ve everything you can to stay healthy not only this summer, but in the coming months ahead, too!