6 Summer Health Tips for Families
Summer is officially here! Hot days, long nights and lots and lots of time for family fun and adventure.
Dr. Holly L. Thacker recently wrote the below piece for the Speaking of Women’s Health website to help families everywhere have a safe and happy summer. Enjoy!
“School is out, the days are getting longer, and everyone is anxious to pack in fun, recreation and relaxation.
Summer fun may involve many activities and components: sunshine, heat, water, long days, picnics, family get togethers, travel, gardening, new experiences and carefree recreation. So as you begin your summer, be sure to stay healthy. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and your family healthy this summer:
- Stay hydrated. Heat can be deadly and is much more lethal in the very young and the very old. Staying well hydrated helps to reduce heat illness and it is also very important to acclimate to hot environments. It does not have to be raining to use your umbrella. Make a fashion statement and keep cool! Protect your eyes from UV damage with some cool shades.
- Lather on broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen, daily, liberally, and re-apply! My personal favorite sunscreen is “Antheliosis 60 melt in sunscreen milk” as it acts not only as a broad spectrum sunscreen but as an illuminizer. Many women apply sunscreen only to their face but forget their neck and décolleté area. These areas are simply an extension of your face and by not protecting your skin, you are aging yourself before your time. You want to keep your skin looking radiant, healthy and glowing. Speaking of glowing women, pregnant women are most at risk for developing blotchy pigment on their face. Melasma can be treated but will come back with any UV light exposure.
- Don’t skip your exercise routine, just because it is sultry out. You may need to change where you exercise and avoid the peak heat and humidity, but don’t get lazy.
- Watch for mosquitoes – especially at dusk and dawn. Clear out standing water,use insect repellant, fix broken screens, and spray your clothes (NOT skin) with permethrin.
- Enjoy hiking, gardening and the great outdoors, but know how to identify the poison ivy and poison sumac. Know when to see your physician if you notice a rash that comes on suddenly. Below are photos one of my patients emailed me after doing extensive gardening and weed pulling. She had very itchy skin, was worried about poison ivy as well as secondary infection. After just one day of treatment with oral prednisone, significant improvement was seen and felt!
Please see your physician if the rash is extensive or involves the face. Do not apply Benadryl/caladryl to the skin. Apply plain calamine and cool compresses, but applying topical Benadryl to your skin can be a skin sensitizer. Cool domboro compresses can reduce weepiness of the skin. If you require prednisone therapy from your physician, as this lady did, to treat the itchy dermatitis, you will likely need to take it for three weeks, NOT just a seven day course.
- Always observe water safety rules. Do not swim alone. Bring and wear lifejackets when swimming, boating, or jet skiing. Remember water activities and alcohol do NOT mix.
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
And enjoy your summer.
– Dr. Holly L. Thacker, MD”