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Summer brings with it joy, warmth, and outdoor adventures. But this season brings with it its own set of health hazards that could change that into uncomfortable or even potentially hazardous circumstances. However, with some knowledge, you can overcome them and keep your summer plans on course.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Under the Sun: Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Ah, the allure of summer sun! While getting that gorgeous golden glow might be on your agenda for this summer season, overdoing it under its intense rays could put you at risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures, high humidity, and strenuous physical activities. Symptoms include sweating profusely, dizziness, headaches and an elevated heart rate. Preventative ac repair may help ease the heat of summer, but if symptoms of heat exhaustion appear untreated they could progress into heatstroke, a life-threatening condition requiring medical intervention immediately.

Bugs on the Beach: Insect Bites and Stings

Summer marks mosquito, fly, bee and wasp biting season with more bites and stings being delivered than ever. From mosquito bites that leave behind itchy welts to mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus or Zika being transmitted, bee and wasp stings can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening if allergic. Keep insect repellent handy, wear protective clothing when outdoors and be wary of areas with stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. 

Splashing Safely: Waterborne Illnesses

We all love plunging into the local pool, serene lake or rolling waves of the ocean to beat the heat, but waterborne illnesses could derail your fun this summer. Standing water can harbor bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium which cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms in swimmers. To minimize risks while swimming avoid swallowing any water and ensure young children take regular bathroom breaks while public pools should have appropriate chlorination. Natural bodies should also be tested prior to diving in.

The Great Outdoors: Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Enjoying nature can quickly turn unpleasant when accidentally exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac plants. Contact with these irritating plants can cause contact dermatitis: an allergic skin reaction that leads to red, itchy blistering rashes caused by oily residue left by these plants that spread if left untreated properly. Knowing how to identify these plants could save future discomfort. Wash affected areas immediately with soap and water and apply either calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for relief of discomfort.

Food Fail: Picnic and BBQ Risks

Summer picnics and barbeques can be delicious occasions, yet their popularity also poses risks of foodborne illness. E. coli and Salmonella thrive in warm weather environments and may contaminate poorly stored or prepared foods. Always follow the golden rule: Keep cold foods cold while hot foods are hot. Using a thermometer, make sure meats reach safe internal temperatures. Don’t leave perishables out for more than two hours (one hour  if the temperature reaches 90degF).

Conclusion

Although summer brings numerous health risks, it also brings numerous opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation. By staying informed and taking preventative steps to minimize risks, you can make the most of this wonderful time of year. So put on some sunscreen, stay hydrated, and cherish every moment.

Heather Brummett

I am Heather Brummett . I'm just a real mom, sharing my real life experiences with the world. Thank you for being a part of my world. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, encouragement, inspiration, and the latest news in and around Houston. To be featured or for information on freelance work contact me at [email protected].

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