Photo by: Austin Dixon
The hottest part of summer is here. The days are long. Children are out still of school for a few weeks. You will want to spend time outdoors enjoying barbecues and other activities that are part of this season.
While you’re having summer fun, be mindful of ways to stay healthy and mitigate the effects of summer weather.
“The heat and sun can be dangerous, but you can easily protect yourself while still having fun ,” said Dr. Andrea Gelzer, chief medical officer for AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health care solutions for those in need. “With a few simple steps, you can greatly reduce your chances of sunburn, dehydration, and other health problems that are more common during the summer months.”
Here are some common tips for having a pleasant yet safe summer:
Go early or late
The heat and sun are the strongest in the late morning and early afternoon, and these hours are best spent in an air-conditioned home or building. If you want to run, take a bicycle ride, or engage in another outdoor physical activity, it is best to do so early in the morning. Similarly, you may want to hold off on your backyard barbecue until after 6 p.m., by which point the sun won’t be as strong. Senior citizens should take particular care to avoid being outside during the middle of summer days, as the heat and sun can take an even heavier toll on them.
Lightweight clothing is right
While summer is the season for t-shirts and shorts, business and other activities will generally still require long sleeves and/or long pants. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer. If you have light-colored garments, this is the time of year to wear them, as light colors reflect more of the sunlight and heat than dark colors. If you must wear a suit and tie outdoors, leave the black wool suit at home and perhaps go with a light-colored suit made of a light fabric.
Everyone needs to apply sun screen to help protect themselves from sunburn and even skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen with the following qualities:
• Protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
• SPF rating of 30 or higher
• Water resistant
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends applying sunscreen as follows:
• Apply enough sunscreen to generously coat all exposed skin.
• Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors.
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
• Don’t forget your lips – apply lip balm with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
Hot weather makes you more susceptible to dehydration and heat stroke, both of which can be life-threatening. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, make sure you drink plenty of water. You may want to take a water bottle with you if you are going to be outside for any length of time.
Note that hot weather can amplify the effects of alcohol. So adults who wish to drink alcoholic beverages should do so even more cautiously during the summer months.