For most Americans, Memorial Dayâ€™s three-day weekend has informally marked the beginning of summer. While this well-loved season may mean warm nights, long days, beach trips, fun picnics, and vacation getaways for most Americans, it also calls for safe habits and healthy living. Why?
In addition to minor problems like dry hair, the rise in temperature forces a host of pathogens to come out of hiding. If you donâ€™t take care of yourself and your health, here are some of the common diseases that could very well threaten your summer vacation – or worse, your life.
1. Prickly heat
Also known as miliaria, prickly heat refers to small, raised, red, itchy rashes that occur due to excess heat and humidity. It causes a prickling or stinging sensation on the skin and can develop anywhere in the body, commonly on the face, neck, back, and chest.
Avoid this by staying in the shade or by wearing loose cotton clothing. To ease the symptoms, apply cornstarch or prescribed powder on areas that are likely to sweat more than the rest of the body.
Resulting from prolonged sun exposure, sunburn means red, painful skin that feels hot when touched. It appears a few hours after sun exposure and takes several days to fade. Intense sunburns can lead to health complications such as dry, wrinkled skin, liver spots, and skin cancer.
To prevent sunburn, protect your skin whenever youâ€™re outdoors, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen lotion on the exposed areas of your body for about 20 minutes before heading out. If you do get a sunburn, several home remedies can heal your skin.
Heat stroke happens when the body can no longer cool itself and starts to overheat. It is a emergency medical condition that should be treated immediately as important parts of the body stop working. Symptoms include rapid and shallow breathing, fainting, and mental confusion. If untreated, it can lead to brain damage or death. To avoid heat stroke, stay out of the sun from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Â Take a cook shower and have plenty of cold drinks.
During summer, food spoils more quickly because of the excessive heat. Make sure you cook the food well. When grilling hamburgers, donâ€™t have them medium-rare. Ground beef should be cooked properly to kill the germs that live in undercooked meat. When youâ€™ve finished eating and still have some leftover food, put them inside the refrigerator. When buying raw veggies, choose packs that donâ€™t smell and donâ€™t have bubbles in top as that is a sign of spoilage.
With disease-causing microorganisms coming out of hiding during summer, diarrhea is a common experience among children and adults alike. It is mostly caused by drinking or eating food contaminated with microorganisms that cause gastrointestinal infections.
To avoid this, practice proper hand washing practices. Wet your hands with clean, running water then apply soap. Rub your hands together and scrub especially between fingers, fingernails, and the backs of your hands. Continue rubbing for 20 seconds. Rinse your hands, and dry.
This disease is caused by a bite of an infected tick. These ticks live outdoors and feed during the spring and summer months. If you are bitten and the bacteria (Borrelia) is transmitted, the symptoms include bullâ€™s-eye rash, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
To keep ticks at a distance, avoid infested areas – those with high grasses – and use insect repellent lotion. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin. If a tick bit you, the infection can be treated with antibiotics.
West Nile virus
Transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, West Nile virus causes symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, and rashes. In unique cases, it also causes neurological effects such as convulsions. Since it is transmitted by a mosquito, the best way to prevent it is to stay away from mosquitoes. At home, remove containers of standing water and clean your surroundings. When traveling to an area with tropical climate, stay indoors at dusk and sleep under a mosquito net.
Also caused by a bite of the mosquito, dengue fever, or â€œbreakbone feverâ€ causes high temperature that generally lasts from 2 to 7 days. When the fever declines, other symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty in breathing.
Although it is more prevalent in other countries, it would be best to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Eliminate the places where mosquitoes lay their eggs, like standing water. Clean flower planter dishes and open flower vases.
Tip! As summer is fast approaching, visit your doctor for a complete physical check up. This can help you discover any health concern that may deprive you of summer. While youâ€™re at it, review your health insurance coverage (http://www.icanbenefit.com/) and find out which diseases are under the scope of your insurance plans.
Have a healthy summer!