Now that school is out (or letting out soon), families are shifting into summer mode and local docs with American Family Care warn about SIX SUMMER HEALTH HAZARDS that could slow down fun in the sun.
The warmer June temperatures mean more people are making plans to chill outside and AFC docs are spreading the word about summer scenarios that can sneak up on you and make you sick!
“This time of year, we are constantly talking with families about the health hazards they can face while going to either the pool, beach or lake throughout the summer,” says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care, a national healthcare network with medical clinics in your community. “From the importance of showering before jumping in a pool to staying hydrated in the sun to searching for ticks following a family picnic, we are advising patients about certain signs and symptoms that could mean a summer pitstop to an urgent care or emergency room.”
SIX SUMMER HEALTH HAZARDS
1. Shower before making a splash – A new survey by the Water Quality & Health Council finds more than half of Americans use a swimming pool as a “communal bath” – and the more dirt, sweat and products like shampoo or deodorant, that mix with chlorine, the less the chlorine works to kill germs. 40% of the respondents to the survey also admitted to urinating in the pool as an adult. This is why it’s so crucial to shower before you jump into a pool.
· Germs and chemicals found in pools can cause recreational water Illnesses, like rashes, diarrhea, ear and respiratory infections.
· Before you swim in a public pool, check ratings for chemical maintenance.
2. Stay tick smart. Protect yourself from potentially fatal insect borne illnesses like Lyme Disease this summer with these safety steps:
Cover up in wooded or grassy areas, and wear long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through high grass. If Rover comes, keep him on a leash.
Always spray your skin with insect repellent with a 20 percent or higher concentration of DEET. Parents should apply to children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouth. Apply products with permethrin to clothing. Permethrin is an insecticide that can be sprayed on clothing to kill insects that touch them.
After walks in wooded or grassy areas, vigilantly look for ticks.
They can remain on skin hours after attaching themselves to your body. Shower and use a washcloth. Also toss your clothes in the dryer so the heat kills ticks.
Lyme Disease often surfaces with a bullseye rash that appears in up to 80% of the people who become infected, often between three and 30 days. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
3. Play it cool in the heat. Educate yourself about the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion happens before heat stroke. When your body overheats, you experience heavy sweating, dizziness, a rapid pulse, nausea, headache and/or cool, moist skin. Go into a shady or air-conditioned space. Remove tight, heavy clothing, lay down, slightly elevate legs and feet and drink cool water.
Heat stroke can kill you if you do not get in front of a medical expert. When your body hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your brain, kidneys and muscles can be damaged and lead to serious complications.
4. Don’t become a MOSQUITO MAGNET!
You can become a target for mosquitoes by drinking a cold beer on a balmy afternoon. Research published by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association suggests alcohol may slightly raise your body temperature a making you more appealing to mosquitoes.
Your body produces lactic acid anytime you sweat and mosquitos find it irresistible. Athletes can reduce lactic acid by washing with soap and thoroughly drying their skin after exercise.
Any and all bug bites can cause a severe allergic reaction. In most of these reactions, you will experience severe swelling of the lips, tongue and/or throat. If left untreated, you can have trouble breathing.
Dodge dehydration. You can dehydrate if you spend long days outside at the pool, beach or park without a drink.
Your become dehydrated when your body is losing or using more fluid than you’re taking in. This happens in hot, humid weather when you sweat a lot.
Symptoms of dehydration include obvious thirst, dry mouth, irritability, fatigue and/or a weak pulse.
Drinking water or sports drinks with electrolytes.
Eat regular meals to replace salt lost while sweating.
6. Stick to sunscreen standards. No matter your age or your skin tone, AFC docs recommend always applying at least a 30 SPF sunscreen when going outdoors.
If you get a severe sunburn, take either ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain, fever or headache.
Drink plenty of water.
Use moisturizing cream or aloe gel for extra relief.
DO NOT RETURN TO SUN until burn has healed.
SEE A DOCTOR when…
Sunburn covers more than 15% of body
Severe pain lasts more than 48 hours
You have a fever of more than 101 degrees