The lazy days of summer are meant for relaxation, not a trip to the doctor's office or ER. Women have unique summer health risks that can be avoided by reviewing and following a few key summertime health tips.
- Drink Water
Dehydration is a common and serious condition that occurs when the body does not get enough fluids. According to WebMD, symptoms include decreased and darker urine output, weakness, dizziness and dry skin and mouth. All beverages are not created equal as water is the best thing to drink. Be aware that alcohol and soda have dehydrating properties and should not count toward your recommended 8 glasses a day.
- Wear Sunscreen
The most well known summer health tip is to wear sunscreen. Yet women still tan religiously and can be often seen with dangerous red sunburns. Sunscreen is key to preventing skin cancer. Even a few sunburns can raise your risk for cancer. Wear sunscreen religiously and reapply often to protect your skin.
- Avoid UTIs
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria climb up in to the urinary tract. During hot summer months, ill fitting shorts or damp swimsuit bottoms can create the perfect environment for bacteria growth. Frequent sexual encounters and poor hygiene can also contribute to UTIs which are only curable by prescription antibiotics. Drink plenty of water and urinate at the first urge. Cranberry juice and cranberry pills also help in maintain an acidic environment unsuitable for bacteria. Wear cotton underwear and shorts to keep the area dry and cool.
- Chill Out
Summer picnics are great but food poisoning is not. Be sure whether you are hosting or attending a picnic, that all food is maintained at a proper temperature to prevent food poisoning. Typically food poisoning is uncomfortable but most people can recover. People with compromised immune systems have a tougher time and can sometimes die as a result of food poisoning. So make sure all your cold foods are chilled and your hot foods are charred!
- Just Say No
More hours of daylight mean more things to do. It's great to try and soak up all the summer you can, but keep in mind that balance will keep you at your healthiest. Learn to say no when you have too many offers or obligations. It is better to have fewer activities that you have the time to enjoy than to have more activities that you rush through and don't enjoy.
- Keep Your Eyes Open
Warmer weather means that more people are out and about later into the evening. Heat waves shorten tempers and crime has a tendency to increase. During the summer especially, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Be sure if you go out that you go out in groups to maintain safety in numbers.
- Check the weather
Heatstroke can be a serious condition but can be prevented by using common sense in hot weather. Check your local forecast for excessive heat advisories. On especially hot days, stay indoors in air conditioning if possible. Be sure to stay hydrated and cut back on strenuous activity on such days. Doing so will help you avoid heatstroke and dehydration during the warm summer months.
- Avoid Bug Bites
Wearing bug repellent is simple advice but many don't follow it. Mosquito bites can cause West Nile Virus, and if out of the country possibly malaria. In addition to the disease possibilities, bug bites are unsightly and uncomfortable. When putting on your sunscreen, put on some bug repellent too!
Aside from the obvious motive of looking good in a bathing suit, summer is a great time to exercise. More hours of daylight allow more time for outdoor activities. Summer time fun like volleyball, tennis and even walking are all fun ways to exercise. Once in the habit, exercising will become second nature and will be something you carry on all year long.
- Be Careful with Alcohol
Drinking on the deck of a great restaurant is a great summer experience. The hot weather and cool beer just seems to go together. Be careful about alcohol consumption in the summertime because it can contribute to accidents like drowning, contributes to sexual assaults and can easily lead to dehydration. Think if you drink!
As primary caregivers, women need to be particularly aware of their health risks. By following a few basic tips like using sunscreen and bug repellent, maintaining proper food temperatures and drinking water you can ensure that you have a happy and healthy summer.