After long months of cold weather, chunky coats, and gloomy days, summer is finally here! Whether it is for the stunning sunshine enlightening our longer days or the golden tans we get, while enjoying the best outdoor activities, we all love summer. Vacations are being planned all over the world, but are people taking into account the consequences of being out in the sun all day?
We’ve all heard from our elders to hydrate, put on sunscreen, and bug spray. But how important are those behaviors to our overall well-being during hot weather?
As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So here are ten health risks that one should be wary of during summer season.
1. Sunburns: When your skin is exposed to the sun for an extended period, it eventually starts burning, causing the outer layer to turn into a painful red sheet. Ultraviolet radiations emitted by the sun are the main reason for this issue, as they penetrate your skin and cause severe damage. In fact, extended sun exposure is a major cause of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to protect ourselves against it by staying hydrated, using sunscreen, and even spending lower amounts of time under direct sun contact.
2. Swimmer’s itch: This itchy rash takes the form of tiny red spots. It appears after swimming and is mainly caused by parasites that live in fresh and salt water. The most efficient way to not develop this rash is to stay out of infested waters. Areas with this issue would usually contain signs that tell you to keep out of the water. In case no warning signs are provided, you should do some research on the area you are planning to swim in to make sure the water is clear. The last measure one can take is to scrub and dry your body well after swimming.
3. Breakouts: During the summer season, we all notice more breakouts on our skin. Between the sweat, the air conditioning, the sun exposure, and various substances in the waters, our skin faces a lot of harm. To best preserve our skin, it is important to have a set skincare routine that involves moisturizing, washing right after exposure to pool or beach water, applying sunscreen on the whole body, and avoiding extensive use of air conditioners as they dry the air in the area, resulting in dry skin.
4. Eye issues: One of the most precious organs in our bodies are eyes. They are our portal to the outside world. UV rays constitute a significant threat to our eyes during summer, especially around water. In fact, they lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss. Therefore, wearing UV ray protective sunglasses is not a luxury but rather a must.
5. Bug Bites: Our planet is home to many other creatures including various types of insects. While insects are around us all year around, they become more active during the summer season. With their increased activity comes the risk of bites, contamination, poisoning and more. Several methods can be used to keep insects away, such as insect repellent sprays, light color clothing, and installing protective screens on windows.
6. Food Poisoning: The heat that comes with the summer season causes ingredients to go bad, if not refrigerated properly that is. In fact, during summer months the high humidity rates and warmer temperatures are ideal for bacteria to develop in our food. Nobody enjoys spending precious vacation days in a restroom trying to deal with a bad meal eaten the previous day. That is why it is necessary to choose our food sources wisely and to avoid ingredients that are not from the area you are in. A good way to check if a restaurant is safe or not is to visit websites like Trip Advisor or even Google to check reviews before hands. Better safe than sorry.
7. Heat Stroke: This is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. High body temperature can cause severe damages to your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. Some symptoms of this condition are rapid short breaths, fast pulse, throbbing headaches, and red, hot, dry skin. To avoid heat strokes, one should not spend extended hours under the sun especially doing physical activities. Hydrating is also necessary to preventing heat strokes.
8. Drowning: While this may seem funny to some of you, drowning is still considered the fifth among leading causes of unintentional death. People are often overconfident with their swimming skills, However, good swimmer or not, it is important to stay cautious while swimming by not getting too far from everybody else, not swimming in dangerous waters, and avoiding drinking alcohol before swimming.
9. Dry hair and breakage: Summer weather can be harsh on your hair. How many of us notice that our locks are pretty much dead after swimming season? And by just one touch we see major breakage of the hair. Much like skin, hair gets damaged by sun exposure, dry air, and harsh chemicals in swimming pools. The best tips to maintaining healthy hair are: investing in moisturizing shampoos/conditioners, wearing hats as much as possible, and cutting dead ends to prevent them from getting worse.
10. Chigoe flea/Jiggers: This risk is mainly concerning people who like to walk barefoot on sandy beaches. Jiggers are small ectoparasites that burrow into the exposed skin, commonly on the toes/feet, to feed on blood and tissue fluid and lay their eggs. Not a lovely image right? These creatures live in the warm, dry sand such as beaches, and soil (paths, parks, etc…) in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa, and the Far East. To be safe wearing shoes is necessary, no matter how pleasing walking barefoot may seem. Other safety measures include using a thick towel to sit or lay on.
Summer is an extraordinary season for all of us, but to make the most of these short months, it is important to stay safe, all while maximizing the enjoyment, and minimizing the costs. Getting to know the different risks that we face while being outdoor during this season is a great plus, as we become more prepared and cautious.
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