Avoid These Five Summer Health Hazards

Summer is a season filled with long days of backyard barbecues and walks on the beach! Of course, we don’t want to spend even one of those days either sick or injured. Below are some summer hazards to watch out for, so you can stay safe, happy, and worry free all summer long.

  1. Food Poisoning: We love a good picnic. But not so much if the mayo sits out too long. Use ice packs and coolers to keep cold foods cold. Don’t keep any foods at room temperature longer than 2 hours — or 1 hour if it’s warmer than 90 degrees. Also, don’t reuse platters that have held raw meat until you wash them thoroughly.
  2. Extreme heat: It’s hot out there! And, the temperature is not just uncomfortable; it can make you sick. Symptoms of heat-related illness may include cramps, nausea, and pale moist skin. Go to a cooler place, drink fluids, and put cool cloths on the skin. Take special care with children and seniors, because their bodies don’t cool as well. Wear loose clothes, don’t exercise at the hottest part of the day, and stay hydrated. If you are not getting better or if you have more serious symptoms such as high fever, fast heart rate, warm and dry skin, confusion, change in behavior, or convulsions, call 911.
  3. Sunburn: Always wear sunscreen. Avoid the sun’s strongest rays during the middle of the day. Wear clothes that protect your arms and legs, and a hat that shields your face, ears, and neck. Reapply sunscreen every 3 hours, or more often if you get sweaty or swim. (There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen.) Remember, even a tan is sun damage. Read more in our recent blog post about skin cancer.
  4. Dry Drowning: If you’re like most of us, you probably figure once you or your child is done swimming or playing in the water, the risk of drowning is over. But dry drowning can happen hours after he or she is toweled off and moved on to other things (It can happen to adults, but mostly occurs in children). With dry drowning, water never reaches the lungs. Instead, breathing in water causes your child’s vocal cords to spasm and close up after he’s already left the pool, ocean, or lake. That shuts off his airways, making it hard to breathe.
  5. Recreational Water Illnesses: All public swimming areas can harbor bacteria that cause gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most common: diarrhea. Accidentally swallowing water that’s been contaminated with feces boosts your risk; that’s why public pools ask you to shower before swimming.

Hope you have a fun and healthy summer! If you have specific health concerns, please call Prosperity Internal Medicine at 703-876-9300. Our group uses the latest advances in medicine, offering our patients access to innovative health management technologies, proactive team-based care, and an evidenced-based, patient-centered approach.