It’s summer, and for many that means vacations and barbecues. For doctors and nurses, it means more patients suffering from heat exhaustion, sunburn, bug bites, and food poisoning. Here are some easy ways to avoid these maladies and stay healthy this summer:
- Drink plenty of water. Water can help you overcome common ailments related to summertime and travelling – even jet lag. Drinking water helps your body fix itself, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to take a drink.
- Stay out of the sun during the middle of the day. Whether you’re planning your kids’ summer activities or your own workout, avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day. Instead, take advantage of cooler mornings or plan to get outside after 4 p.m.
- When you are in the sun, remember to cover up. Be sure to apply an SPF 30 sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming. As effective as sunscreen is, protective clothing is even better — and it doesn’t wash off while swimming. Just remember to still put sunscreen on your nose and the tops of your ears.
- Protect yourself from bug bites. Children under 2-months-old should avoid any insect repellent – so make sure they are covered up if they’ll be around insects. Because some bug sprays only protect against mosquitoes, the CDC says to make sure yours has at least 20% DEET to protect against ticks, flies and other bugs. You can even treat your clothes (but not your skin) with permethrin as an added barrier.
- Sunscreen first, then bug spray. Let the sunscreen dry before applying bug repellent.
- When you’re travelling, be aware of what’s going around where you’re going. While Utah generally has less than 10 cases of Lyme Disease every year, many Utahns contract it out of state while on vacation. Different places have different illnesses, so be aware of any changes in your health while you’re travelling, and be sure to get appropriate vaccines if you’re traveling internationally.
- Know the basics of how to prevent food poisoning:
a. Keep hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation areas clean.
b. Keep raw meat and their juices away from other food.
c. When cooking, use a food thermometer to determine whether food has reached the appropriate temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
d. Bacteria thrive in food that is between 40° and 140° F. Keep food cold by serving it over ice, and throw it out if it reaches 70°. And whether hot or cold, food should not be left out more than two hours at room temperature – one hour if you’re outside and it’s over 90°.
e. Use cooked leftovers within 4 days.
Remember you can access Intermountain Connect Care while traveling. They can help treat all of the above conditions. For more information on Connect Care, click here.