Summer Sickness and Summer Heat Safety
Winter isn’t the only time of year for people to get sick. There are a handful of illnesses we’ve compiled below that unfortunately seem to pop up this time of year and keep us bed-ridden when all we want to do is enjoy the beautiful weather.
Strep Throat – This thing is around all year and especially so during the school year. Respiratory secretions easily transmit this sickness so be sure to cover your mouth when you cough! Thoroughly washing your hands is a good move, too.
If you succumb to strep throat swap out your toothbrushes every couple of days. If the symptoms come back right after finishing or at the end of taking antibiotics your doctor might need to prescribe you another one.
Swimmer’s Ear – This occurs during swim season (who would’ve guessed?). It’s not a typical ear infection that follows a cold but its painful and annoying nonetheless. Swimmer’s ear is brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming that aids bacterial growth. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or a steroid to reduce inflammation.
Eczema – The combination of dry heat and swimming pool chemicals can wreak havoc. Itchy, inflamed skin is aggravating and can be combatted with a good skin moisturizer and antihistamines for the itchiness. If the flare-up is too much for those standard treatments a topical steroid might be in order.
Another cause of illness this time of year isn’t from a bug or virus, it’s from the heat of the summer sun. As the temperature and humidity rise so does the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Our bodies regulate temperature with faster, shallower breathing, increased blood flow to the skin, and sweating. Heavy sweating without replacing fluids can lead to dehydration and even heat cramps. If our bodies fail to shed enough excess heat there is a risk of heat exhaustion or, in severe cases, heat stroke.
It’s possible to avoid heat-induced illnesses by taking the right precautions and staying hydrated before, during, and after activities (even if it’s just sitting outside in the sun).
Below are some tips on keeping your cool when the temperature gets hot:
- Limit outdoor activities when the sun is at its peak
- Avoid direct sunlight and large crowds
- Rest in shady or air-conditioned locations
- Wear hats and lightweight, loose clothing
- Drink non-diuretic fluids like water or sports drinks