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Seasonal Scares

Summer is here, and while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities can be a real treat, it’s important to remember that summertime, unfortunately, brings its share of health concerns. Here are a few of the more common ones—and some tips on avoiding them.

If you’re not careful, that summer sun will burn you, increasing your risk of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer. That danger can triple after only one sunburn every two years. Wear protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats, avoid the blistering midday sun if at all possible, and even on cloudy days wear sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30.


Smog and air pollution, high pollen levels, and increased mold growth can all cause an increase in asthma attacks. Asthma sufferers should continue taking their daily controller medication and use to track local air quality.


To avoid this common infection, tilt one ear down and wiggle your ear lobe after swimming or showering to help the water drain. Repeat with the other ear. And leave that ear wax alone, as it protects the lining of the ear against infections.


Foodborne illnesses are far more common in summer than the rest of the year because the bacteria that cause food poisoning grow faster in hot, humid weather. Keep perishable foods in a refrigerator or cooler, and when the temperature rises above 90°F, don’t leave food out for more than an hour.


Dehydration and heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke happen much more frequently in summer than during other parts of the year. Again, avoid exerting yourself during the hottest parts of the day. It’s suggested that you drink eight glasses of water daily, but consult your doctor on fluid consumption ifyou suffer from congestive heart failure, kidney disease, or liver disease.


This malady peaks during the summer whenwe’re exposed to ticks in the yard and the woods. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, rash, and facial paralysis. It can be treated with antibiotics, but left untreated can lead to joint, heart, and nerve damage. To minimize the risk, use a repellant on bare skin that contains 20 percent or more DEET, and one containing the insecticide permethrin on clothing. Also, do a full-body check after coming in from the woods or a bushy area.

With just a little caution and preparation, summertime health concerns can be minimized, making summer a healthy and safe time to be outdoors.

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