Five tips to help you enjoy the summer

Summer is right around the corner, and it’s important to revisit some of the ways you can ensure a happy and healthy season. Many of the health risks associated with summer are due to the warmer and often drier weather. Enjoy your summer and make the most of the time away from school or work by following these five tips to lessen the impact of summer weather on your health.

1. Stay hydrated

Staying well-hydrated in the summer months is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Hydration levels influence a wide range of health-related issues, including moodiness, lack of stamina, weight gain and a weakened immune system. You should always find ways to get fluids into your body when you exert yourself through physical activity, but during the summer, making sure to stay hydrated is more important than any other time of the year.

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and avoid excess amounts of caffeine. Make sure your body is hydrated enough to keep you cool when the temperature rises. The average recommended daily consumption of water and other fluids varies depending on your body weight and physical activity. You should consume eight or more cups of fluid per day, water being the best choice. Sports drinks and other electrolyte-rich beverages are great for recovery from exercise, but they are unnecessary for regular activities.

2. Treat your skin for sun exposure

Applying sunscreen and sunblock is essential for protecting your skin from the potentially harmful UV rays of the sun. The fairer your skin is, the more susceptible you are to sunburn and other skin-related injuries, including melanoma. Be sure to choose the sun protection treatment that is suitable for your activity. For example, if you are swimming or enjoying water sports, choose a water-resistant sunscreen.

3. Be mindful of allergies

Allergies are often worse in the warmer months, due to the increased presence of pollen and other common seasonal allergens. Standard over-the-counter allergy remedies are sufficient for treating symptoms for most people, while others may require a more potent alternative.

As you will likely be outdoors more often during the summer, the increased risk of allergic reactions from insect bites and stings is important to consider. Those with a history of allergies to common pests should take steps to ensure the availability of treatments (such as antihistamines) in case bites or stings occur.

4. Watch for heat-related injuries

Heat-related injuries, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are serious afflictions that affect many people, especially during summer. Pay attention to symptoms that could signal the onset of a heat-related injury, including:

  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • lethargy
  • dry skin when sweating is more likely expected

Staying hydrated will alleviate these symptoms and curb the risk of heat-related injuries, but you should also monitor your level of activity when the heat index rises above normal summer conditions.

5. Protect your eyes

The sun can have long-term damaging effects on your eyes. As summer is prime time for long days of bright sunshine, you should take care to protect your eyes from the potentially damaging effects of prolonged sunlight. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or cap, or choosing sunglasses are perfect ways to limit the amount of sunlight directed toward your eyes. Prescription glasses should be worn with protective tinted lens covers.

Enjoying the outdoors, especially during summer travel, doesn’t have to result in heat- or sun-related injuries. Take proper precautions and be sure to have Blue Cross travel insurance for summer travel plans.