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Summer Health Tips: Avoiding Burns, Bites and Overheating

Summer Health Tips: Avoiding Burns, Bites and Overheating

Summer is almost here—along with the sun, heat, and mosquitoes that come with it. Although it’s impossible to avoid summer’s unpleasant side effects, enjoying the outdoors in a safe and healthy way can still make for a fun time filled with great memories.

“Plan outdoor exercise and activities for cooler times of the day like early morning or late evening,” says Heather Knight, LPN, practice manager for Valley Health Page Memorial Family Medicine in both Shenandoah and Stanley. “Take several breaks from the heat, especially midday when the sun is the hottest.”

Need more tips? Here are some additional ways to stay healthy and safe this summer, according to Knight.

What are some ways to avoid getting overheated?

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Try freezing a bottle of water that can thaw into an ice-cold beverage.
  • Rest somewhere with cooler air. Find a shady spot if you’re outside.
  • If possible, get in the cool water of a pool or shower. If these are not available, you can use cooling rags such as towels soaked in cool water. Spray bottles and damp sponges are also options.
  • Apply cool rags to “pulse points” like your wrist, ankles, the crooks of your elbows, and the back of your knees.
  • Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing like linen or cotton will help you stay cool.
  • Eat light meals. Include foods that reduce body heat such as cucumber, watermelon, coconut water, mint, buttermilk, etc.
  • Limit alcohol as it increases dehydration.

How do I avoid getting sunburned?

  • When out in direct sunlight, remember to wear (and regularly reapply) sunscreen of SPF 30+.
  • Cover your head with a hat.
  • Take regular breaks indoors or in a shady area.
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses.
  • Avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day.

And what about those pesky mosquitoes?

“Something I recently learned is mosquitos have a difficult time flying in any breeze above 1 mph, so picking a breezy spot outside may help, or staying near a plug-in fan,” Knight says. “I was also informed mosquitos tend to fly very close to the ground to avoid the wind, so directing the fan’s force downward will block their approach.”

  • I realize I previously encouraged going outside during the cooler parts of the day to avoid sunburns and overheating, but in this situation avoid dusk and dawn if you’re trying to avoid mosquitoes.
  • Keep your grass cut and get rid of standing water, like birdbaths. 
  • Mosquitoes are drawn in by pheromones released in your sweat. Try to avoid getting sweaty, if possible.
  • Wear clothing with a very tight weave, like athletic apparel.
  • Because I’m so prone to mosquito bites, I also have plants around my house to help repel mosquitos, like citronella, lavender, lemongrass, and marigolds.
  • Avoid scented perfumes and lotions. They attract mosquitoes too.