HEALTH & WELLNESS: Summer Tips for Staying Healthy

Whether you’re planning a staycation or vacation out of town, here are some tips for staying healthy at home, at play and on the road. We’ve talked about the importance of sunscreen in our past issue. Here are some more recommendations for enjoying paradise this summer.

Travel Tips:

Are your immunizations up to date if you’re going abroad? Have you had a recent tetanus shot and if so, be sure to bring copies of both papers. Add to that a week’s worth of extra meds and copies of your prescriptions and all allergies. Prevention goes a long way. If you are going into a Zika zone, be sure to take extra precautions and if you’re pregnant, or considering getting pregnant, change your travel plans.

Stay Hydrated:

Water plays a critical role in many bodily functions like eliminating toxins, lubricating of joints, and helping digestion. Water loss can also upset the balance of minerals (salts & sugars) in your body, which can then impair its proper functioning. To prevent dehydration, keep yourself hydrated with at least 1.5 liters of water a day – but never all at once. Instead, keep drinking water and other fluids (soups, milk, fresh juice, coconut water, lemon water) and also eat water-rich foods such as salads and fruits

The weather and your level of physical activity affect how much water you need but on average, an adult woman needs approximately 2.1 liters of water in a day while a man needs about 2.6 liters. You might need more if you’re on a high protein or high fiber diet, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Two early signs of dehydration are thirst and darker-colored urine as well as feeling nauseous, dizzy, or tired; getting muscle cramps and headaches; and having a dry mouth. If you start losing consciousness or feel confused, you could be dangerously dehydrated and might need immediate medical attention.

Sunburn 101:

You feel asleep or forgot to re-apply your sunscreen. Now, you’re a lobster. Here are some general tips for reducing the pain and discomfort. And for heaven’s sake, get out of the sun.

  • Apply aloe or over-the-counter Vitamin E cream or suggested moisturizing lotion to skin as directed.
  • To soothe and cool skin, take a cool bath or shower or apply cool compresses to the area.
  • For pain, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. (As always, check with your physician first about what you can take.)
  • If blisters form, don’t break them.

Eye Health & Safety:

To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts and surfer’s eye as well as wrinkles around the eyes. When playing sports or doing tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear protective eyewear and check with your eye doctor for sport-specific recommendations.

Stingray Shuffle:

You know the drill; shuffle your feet to avoid a painful stingray sting. If medical attentionis not readily available, the following guidelines are recommended in treating a stingray sting:

  • Flush the wound with fresh water.
  • For pain relief, soak the wound in water as hot as the person can tolerate (approximately 110 F, 43.3 C)
  • Use tweezers to remove the stingers.
  • Scrub the wound with soap and fresh water.
  • Do not cover the wound with tape or close it with stitches. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Apply topical antibiotic ointment if signs of infection, such as pus, redness, or heat, occur.
  • Check with your physician to see if you need oral antibiotics that are usually recommended for infection.
  • Patients with an impaired immune system (for example, HIV, diabetes, cancer) should seek medical care.

Insect Stings:

Whether it’s a mosquito or a bee, here are some general tips for those who are not allergic to stings (check with your physician).

  • Move away from the stinging or biting insect. Bees will alert other bees, making them more likely to sting.
  • Remain as calm and quiet as possible. Movement increases the spread of venom in the bloodstream.
  • If you have been stung by a bee and the stinger is still in the skin, remove the stinger as quickly as possible.
  • If you have been stung on the arm or leg, lower the limb at the time of the sting to slow the spread of venom. Hours later, if swelling is present, you can elevate the limb to help reduce swelling.
  • Apply an ice pack to a bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour for the first 6 hours. When not using ice, keep a cool, wet cloth on the bite or sting for up to 6 hours. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Do not apply ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do not fall asleep with the ice on your skin.
  • Try a non-prescription medicine for the relief of itching, redness, and swelling. Be sure to follow the non-prescription medicine precautions. Don’t have any in stock?

Hit the kitchen, and hold a refrigerated, dampened green tea bag on the bite or take a soak in a soothing oatmeal bath.

Other Summer-Related:

Check out these videos for tips on dealing with other unexpected encounters. As always, consult a physician or visit one of the excellent local Urgent Cares.

Article by Nanette Wiser

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