This article was last updated on May 28, 2020.
The warmth of summer invites us to take part in all the season has to offer: bike rides, visits to the swimming pool, camping and grilling. Summer also has its share of problems, from bug bites to sunburns and poison ivy. Play it safe this summer and remember to call BeWell 24/7SM with your health-related questions.
BeWell 24/7 can help you decide if you should go to the urgent care center for that ankle sprain, or how to treat swimmer’s ear.
Now is the time to stock up on a few summer must-haves:
- Sunscreen. Ideally, your sunscreen should be water-resistant, have an SPF of 30 or higher and provide broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply 15 – 30 minutes before going outside and be generous — don’t be skimpy with the coverage. Reapply frequently, about every two hours, and more when swimming or sweating heavily.
- Sunglasses. Sunglasses may seem like a fashion accessory, but they’re critical for protecting your eyesight from the sun’s rays, whatever the season. Bright rays — particularly those bouncing off the water — can damage your vision. Look for lenses that block at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.
- Bug repellent. Products that contain at least 20 percent DEET offer the best protection against mosquitoes and ticks. For DEET alternatives, opt for a product with picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil. The key to maximizing the safety of all bug repellents is to follow label instructions closely. If you’re using them with sunscreen, apply the SPF first, and then use the bug spray.
- First aid kit. You can buy pre-stocked kits or make your own. At a minimum, pack sterile gauze, adhesive tape, bandages in several sizes, antiseptic wipes and antibiotic cream.
- Bike helmet. Make sure everyone on wheels has a properly fitted helmet, and talk about bike safety basics. Bike helmets aren’t just for cyclists — they’re also for anyone on rollerblades, skateboards and scooters.
Beware of heat injuries
Stop and seek a cool shelter if you experience any of these:
- Heat cramps. Arm or leg muscles may spasm. Excessive sweating causes electrolyte (salt) loss. Have a sports drink. Stretch and massage to relieve pain.
- Heat exhaustion. Headaches, dizziness and nausea strike when you are dehydrated and can’t keep your core temperature down. Be sure to hydrate with water or a sports drink. Apply cool, damp cloths to the face and body. Stand in front of a fan or an air conditioner.
- Heatstroke. Strikes when the cooling system shuts down, causing confusion, fainting, seizures or coma. Call 911 and cool down in the ways suggested above or if possible, sit in an ice bath.
Eight, Four, Four, Eight, Four, Be Well
Call BeWell 24/7, for a variety of health-related concerns:
- Locate health care providers and facilities.
- Get information to help you estimate your costs for common medical procedures and services.
- Coordinate health care appointments and in-home health help.
- Discuss treatment options and answer your health and wellness questions.
- Make arrangements for community-based services for yourself or a family member, such as in-home safety modifications.