Summer Is Ripe with Health Benefits and Risks
Make the Most of Summer with Some Seasonal Safety Tips
Sunlight, fresh air, physical activity, and seasonal foods are all part of the joy of summertime. It’s a season ripe with potential health benefits.
Encouraged by the warmer weather, it’s easy to enjoy activities such as gardening, swimming, and hiking, reaping the physical and mental health benefits of being active and outside. Indeed, science shows that simply by being in nature we get a health boost.
While you’re enjoying the health benefits that are a natural part of summer, it’s important to be mindful of some of the risks too. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe and well during the warmer months.
Ticks & Mosquitos
Summer is peak season for ticks and mosquitos. There are many varieties of these pests, some of which can cause serious illnesses such as Lyme disease and Zika virus. The first step in prevention is familiarizing yourself with the ticks and mosquitos that are found in your area and the diseases they may carry.
Mosquitos are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. That’s how they know where to find you. They prefer to live near water and humans (or other mammals) as the protein in blood is their primary food source. Ticks prefer moist areas too, as well as shade. They are typically found in wooded or grassy spots.
You can protect yourself from mosquitos by staying inside during certain times of day, especially around dawn and dusk. You can ward off mosquitos by making your own all-natural bug repellant with aromatherapy oils. Also, you can deter both mosquitos and ticks by wearing long pants, long sleeves, and a hat when outside. Make sure to do a regular check of pets and family’s skin to remove any ticks before they become a problem.
Heat & Hydration
When it’s hot outdoors, your body’s internal temperature can rise too. When it rises higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion. Symptoms can include:
- Flushed skin
- Weak or rapid pulse
Add dehydration to the mix, and you may experience something even more severe known as heatstroke. Water should be a key part of your summer safety toolkit. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and other fluids when it’s hot out, especially if you are exerting yourself with gardening or another physical activity. Keeping hydrated will help you maintain a safe internal temperature.
You can also stay cool by staying out of the sun, particularly during its peak hours of 10am and 4pm. Wear loose-fitting clothing and be mindful that you don’t overexert yourself with too much activity when the sun is at its strongest.
Soaking up the summer sun helps your body make Vitamin D, an important nutrient you need to be well. Vitamin D provides a wealth of benefits, including:
- Helps the body absorb calcium
- Keeps bones strong
- Boosts immune system function
- Eases musculoskeletal pain
- Enhances mood
Although the sun provides some health benefits, you need to take precautions to ensure you don’t get too much. Always apply an SPF of 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection (known as ‘broad spectrum’). Reapply your sun protection every two hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating. And take care to cover all exposed skin, including easily missed areas such as the hairline, ears, neck, and the tops of your feet. Here’s more on sun safety.
Barbecues are synonymous with summertime. As soon as the warm weather hits, everyone wants to fire up the grill for a family feast. Unfortunately, the potential for food-born illnesses increases during the warmer months because bacteria thrive in warm, moist temperatures. Remember to cook all meat to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria and to avoid the risk of ingesting parasites that can be present in undercooked meat.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are another great advantage of the summer. Buying locally grown produce is a great way to get more nutrients out of the food you’re eating. That’s because food that’s picked and eaten quickly thereafter is more nutrient dense than food that has travelled a long distance to reach your plate. Just remember to give everything a good wash before eating to avoid ingesting any pesticides or other harmful contaminants.
Natural Health Consultations
At Nature’s Link Wellness, our mission is to help you discover natural ways to improve your health through a balance of proper diet, hydration, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest. We offer natural health consultations in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area.
If you’re looking for a customized plan to improve your health using a combination of traditional and alternative techniques, give us a call on 337-332-2705 or reach us online for more information.