with your health in mind

Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris in white coat

Summer Health and Safety Applies to Everyone, Young and Seasoned

Dear friends,

I can attest that summer fun isn’t just for the kiddos! When the world slowed down during the pandemic, I discovered a new passion: gardening. Now my weekly summer routine includes watering zucchini and tomatoes, chatting with my leafy friends, and sharing with my granddaughter the joy of the apple tree I planted.

Summer is the season we relish with longer days, warm sunshine and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re planning a staycation or venturing out, prioritizing your health and safety is crucial if you’re going to be outside. And guess what? The advice we give to children applies to us adults, too.

Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of this vibrant season, while protecting yourself from common summer health risks:

  • Embrace Daylight Savings Time
    Daylight Savings Time blesses us with extended daylight, making it the perfect opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, like walking or gardening. These activities not only help you stay fit but also let you bask in the beauty of nature. But try to stay active during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to miss the peak heat. This way, you can avoid turning into a human puddle by noon.

  • Stay Hydrated – Your Body Will Thank You
    Hydration is crucial, especially in the summer heat. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, and increase your intake if you’re active. Spice things up by infusing your water with fruits, like lemon or berries—giving a spa day to your taste buds so that water is more enjoyable, encouraging you to drink more.

  • Summer fun isn’t just for kids, but prioritizing your health and safety is crucial if you plan to be outside.

    Wear Sunscreen
    Admittedly, I need to do better with this one. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. And for parents of infants and small children, choose a sunscreen specially formulated for their delicate skin. A persistent myth is that people with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen. This is simply not true. Regardless of skin tone, everyone should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect against harmful UV rays. Think of sunscreen as your personal force field against sunburns and skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the United States.

  • Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure – A Little Shade Never Hurt Anyone
    While the sun provides essential vitamin D, too much exposure can be harmful. Sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer, and too much sun can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seek shade during peak sun hours, wear wide-brimmed hats, and use umbrellas or canopies when outdoors. It’s possible to stay both cool and stylish in the shade.

  • Protect Your Eyes – Sunglasses Aren’t Just for Looking Cool
    Sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. Prolonged exposure can lead to cataracts and other eye conditions. Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays to ensure your eyes are well-protected. Besides, who doesn’t love a good pair of stylish shades?

  • Use Insect Repellent – Bugs Are Not Your Friends
    Summer brings more insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, which can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when spending time outdoors. Follow the instructions and reapply as needed, especially if swimming or sweating. Think of insect repellent as your secret weapon in the war against itchy bites and disease.

By following these simple and effective tips, both young and old can be safe and still enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer, just like my granddaughter and I do in the garden. Here’s to a fun and healthy summer, and making the most of this wonderful season!

With your health in mind,

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