Summer is the perfect season to spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine, hang out with family and friends, and exercise outdoors. With more sun and heat, however, comes more health problems and precautions. Keep these common health pitfalls in mind in order to keep summer happy and healthy.
Forgetting to Apply Sunblock
Though sunblock should be applied year-round to avoid the harmful effects of UV rays, it is especially important in the summer when people are outdoors for longer periods of time. Sunblock should be applied everyday and reapplied every two hours. The CDC recommends SPF 15 while CBS News suggests SPF 30, but both sources agree that the best sunscreens have broad spectrum protection.
The Mayo Clinic says that drinking 8 glasses of water per day is a reasonable goal, but they also caution that exercise and hot or humid weather are two situations that require more water intake. Dr. Daryl Gioffre told The Active Times, “The average person loses 2.5 liters of water per day, and that is just by everyday life. If you are working out, or in the sun, you can add another liter to that number.” He also cautions that people who wait until they are thirsty are often already dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day or setting water intake goals can help prevent dehydration.
Working Out in Scorching Weather
Contrary to popular belief, working out in high temperatures does not help burn more calories. Many people believe they are working harder because they sweat more, but this is just the body’s natural reaction to keep things cool. Working out in hotter weather also increases one’s chances of becoming dehydrated because of how much they will sweat.
Skimping on Bug Spray
Though bug bites may seem like a minor inconvenience, they sometimes come with major consequences. Mosquitoes and ticks can cause lifelong illness if they carry West Nile virus or Lyme disease, respectively. CBS News recommends bug spray with DEET to protect against ticks, in addition to wearing long pants and shirts when hiking in wooded areas.
Skipping the Sunglasses
Not only can sunglasses be the perfect accessory, but they can also prevent long term eye problems. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, sunglasses can protect against the development of cataracts and certain cancers. Mirrored sunglasses can provide even greater protection for the eyes and surrounding skin.
Dehydrating with Drinks
Nothing is more appealing than a sugary or alcoholic summer drink, but indulging in too many of these types of beverages can actually induce dehydration. “For every alcoholic beverage, a person should drink two cups of water,” Dr. Bonnie Simmons, emergency room doctor to USA Today. Alcoholic drinks are not the only types of dehydrating drinks: coffee and soda are also culprits.
Exclusively Wearing Flip Flops
Flip flops are most people’s summer shoe of choice, but exclusively wearing these shoes can cause major foot problems. Lacking the arch support and cushioning of other shoes, flip flops can contribute to back, knee, or foot pain. These shoes can even trigger plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.