KEEP THE ENTIRE FAMILY HEALTHY AND HAPPY!
Fight the summertime doldrums and manage your health at the same time! Staying active during the dog days of summer may seem like a tedious task, especially when you’re up against hours and hours of video games in the comfort of blasting air conditioning. The extreme heat of South Louisiana can make the long days and nights of the summer seem even longer, but with the heat comes family vacations, swimming pools, and fireworks. Here are a few things to remember this summer for those rare moments when you’ve managed to pull your family out into the crowds!
Outdoor activities abound during the summertime, so be sure to schedule some time out of the house during the morning or evening hours before the sun gets too fierce. Routine exercise a few times per week helps to manage weight, anxiety, and provide much needed Vitamin D! If anything, give your eyes a rest from staring at whatever device screen is in your grasp!
Our bodies sweat as a way to cool off in the heat, so it’s important that we constantly replenish ourselves with fluids. Stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks during the hottest part of the day. Drop a few frozen berries or grapes into your water bottle, adding flavor while also keeping your drink cold! Be sure to know the signs of heat exhaustion (heavy sweating, dizziness, and lightheadedness) and heat stroke (high body temps, confusion, and unconsciousness) and seek medical attention for those afflicted immediately.
Even if you are just running errands or going outside for a short time, wear sunscreen every day. Gone are the days of the sun worshippers and overly bronzed skin as we realize the damaging effects of prolonged exposure – whether it’s sunspots, premature aging, or even melanoma. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible, aim for a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply every two hours.
Stay Food Safe
The summertime heat produces a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, so be sure to incorporate them into your diet for healthy and affordable food choices. Those high in water content also help to keep you hydrated. Summertime also sees an increase in foodborne illness, as foods can spoil more quickly in the heat and inexperienced grillmasters can unknowingly serve meats that are undercooked. Be sure to wash your hands often, cook foods to the correct temperature, and don’t leave perishable food out in the heat.
Beware of Bugs
With more time spent outdoors means more exposure and potential for bug bites. Even with insect repellent, most of us still get bitten at some point, and although most are harmless and go away on their own, albeit after some itching, it’s important to recognize the warning signs and see a doctor if the bite does not appear to be healing. Number 1, if you are allergic to bug bites, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention, even if your reaction appears to be mild. Otherwise, if you experience severe swelling, pain, fever, or chills, it’s time to visit the clinic. Draw a circle around the bite and if the redness or swelling extends beyond those lines or if the bite starts to pus and drain, it’s time to get it checked out.
Don’t forget the Fireworks!
Tantamount among potential summer hazards, fireworks are a part of many celebrations. Stay safe by being vigilant – only allow use under adult supervision, keep water handy to douse any sparks, and never point fireworks at others. And never, ever, mix fireworks and alcohol.
Take a Dip
A quick way to beat the heat, a dip in the pool is a welcome way to cool off and get some healthy exercise. Always stay water aware and recognize the signs of a struggling swimmer. Better yet, take advantage of swimming lessons and basic CPR classes. Better safe than sorry!
Teche Action Clinic is here for all your healthcare needs, year round. During the summertime, we may see an increase in sunburns, bug bites, broken bones and many other ailments that come from summertime activities. Don’t shy away from them though. Remain cautious and have fun. We’re here if you need us!