It’s summer. The days are long, the sun is shining, and all the kids want to do is play outside, in spite of COVID-19. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, in addition to the COVID pandemic, summer itself does pose its fair share of health risks, even if you are quarantining in your own backyard. Here are the top ten summer health issues and how to prevent and care for them, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. HEAT STROKE
Heat stroke is caused by the body overheating as a result of extended exposure to the sun or other forms of heat. Common symptoms include confusion, dry skin when you should be sweating, racing heart rate, and nausea. If you think you’re experiencing heatstroke, immediately get inside and douse yourself in cold water. If symptoms persist, head to your local emergency room. Avoiding heatstroke is as simple as staying inside on blistering days.
When you’re losing more fluids than you’re taking in, your body is dehydrating and weakening. Although it’s more common in young children and older adults, dehydration can occur to anyone spending prolonged periods of time in high heat. Even if you wish you were sipping something sweet, the sugars in smoothies and fruit juices counteract the necessary water your body needs. Dehydration is solved by drinking water, Gatorade, or Pedialyte.
3. HEAT RASH
Exactly what it sounds like: a rash caused by sweat becoming trapped under the skin in humid conditions. Common in both children and adults, there’s no reason to seek medical treatment over the mild itchiness this rash produces. Use calamine lotion and spend some time in a cool location until it relieves itself.
Everyone is at risk for sunburn. People with fairer skin and lighter hair are more prone to redness and peeling, along with people who repeatedly burn themselves on the quest for the “perfect” tan. Sunburns can lead to skin cancer, melanoma, cellular damage, and rapid aging. The easiest way to protect yourself from a sunburn is to use sunscreen frequently, check your skin routinely, and avoid exposure to high UV levels. If you do get sunburned, use aloe to reduce the burn.
5. ASTHMA AND ALLERGY FLARE UPS
If you find yourself wheezing within moments of stepping outside, you’re likely having an asthma or allergy flare up. Check the air quality before you head outside, always carry a rescue inhaler (if you have one) and avoid campfires and windy days that stir up mold and pollen. Ragweed and Bermuda grass are at the height of their terror in July and August; if these are known issues, stay inside.
6. BUG BITES
Mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders thrive in the heat. If you have type O blood, or you emit more carbon dioxide, you may be more prone to attract mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders. Protect yourself by burning citronella candles outdoors, using bug spray frequently, and not spending too long outside around dusk. Most bites will itch for 2-3 days and then fade, but if it persists beyond then and you develop a fever, rash, or other symptoms of infections, see your doctor.
7. FOOT PROBLEMS
Athlete’s foot, sprained ankles, blisters and more; summer offers it all. For many, flip flops seem like the easiest option when visiting a pool or beach. However, for those susceptible to falls and ankle twists, invest in a sandal that provides support. Avoid blisters and athlete’s foot by wearing protective footwear at all times—in showers, on beaches, pool decks, and other public places. If you do find yourself scratching and wincing at painful soles, home remedies such as creams and ice will heal you right up.
8. FOOD POISONING
The food truck right off the beach might seem convenient, but the stomach cramps later aren’t worth it. Food poisoning can occur from improperly cooked food, bacteria in water, and contamination from unsafe cooking conditions. Symptoms of food poisoning include a mild fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, sweating, and clutching the rim of the toilet for dear life. Avoid this summer health concern by only eating food you trust and drinking water from safe sources.
9. SUMMER COLDS
You can still develop a summer cold, with symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, headache, cough, and mild fever, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19. Children, or those in constant contact with small children, are at greater risk for developing a summer cold.
The key point to consider: summer colds resolve within a few days, while COVID-19 will take longer.
If you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19, don’t hesitate to get tested, even though it may take some time to get your test results.
10. EAR INFECTIONS
Due to increased activity in water sports in the summer, ear infections become more common in young kids, those who use hearing aids, and frequent headphone users. Ear infections can be treated with over-the-counter eardrops, pain medicine, and 48 hours of rest. If it’s still a problem, and you can’t keep the kids out of the pool, invest in some earplugs to prevent further infections.
All of these are easily treatable with home remedies. Staying safe this summer is the number one priority, especially in the midst of the COVID-19. To learn more about different healthcare topics, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. To learn more about different areas of healthcare, sign up for a healthcare course offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.