How to Prevent Common Summer Health Risks – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
With summer fast approaching, you’re probably ready to enjoy a savory backyard barbeque, thrilling theme park visit, or tranquil beach respite. Just remember that vacation season brings with it its own set of risks. The doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care offer the following advice to help you avoid some common summer health woes so you can enjoy the “dog days” to their fullest:
Guard against dehydration and heatstroke – While sweating, your body loses electrolyte-packed fluids. If you replace those fluids with only water, you can become dehydrated. Then, as your temperature continues to rise, your body will be unable to produce enough sweat to cool itself sufficiently, and heatstroke can result. To protect yourself while spending time in the sun, be sure to hydrate well in advance, then drink at least one liter every hour (a 50-50 mix of Gatorade and water is best). Also, take frequent breaks, either indoors or in a shady area. If you should develop a severe headache or become confused, seek medical attention immediately.
Avoid food-borne illness – If food that requires refrigeration is exposed to temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees for any length of time, the microorganisms that cause food-borne illnesses can thrive and multiply, producing dangerous toxins. When enjoying such food outside, be sure to keep it in an ice-filled cooler to maintain it at a safe temperature. If you suspect you may have contracted a food-borne illness and experience severe or prolonged vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea, contact your physician right away.
Protect your skin from the sun – Whenever you are outside—even on cloudy days—apply a full-spectrum sunscreen that blocks or absorbs all UV rays. Sunburn symptoms—red, warm, and tender skin—usually arise within four hours after sun exposure, worsen within 24-36 hours, and then improve within three to five days. In the meantime, aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may help relieve your discomfort, as will a cool bath. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. Should blisters develop, lightly bandage the area to prevent infection.
Watch out for ticks – Avoid tall grass and wooded areas, which can be tick-infested. If you must be in such areas, wear light-colored clothing that fully covers your skin—long pants tucked into socks or boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat—and apply insect repellant. Also, try to minimize your contact with branches and weeds. Once you are back inside, thoroughly check yourself and if you find a tick, remove it immediately by pulling it straight out with tweezers, then wash the area with soap and water. Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but if you experience a rash, fever, or unexplained illness following a tick bite, consult your physician.
We hope these tips will help you sidestep some of summer’s top ailments so you can savor all the best the season has the offer. For more family health and safety tips, check out our online series of health articles. If you would like further information, please contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic. The temperatures are rising—we’re here to help you have fun in the sun safely!