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The tips you need for a healthy summer that’s still packed with fun

The tips you need for a healthy summer that’s still packed with fun

Are you already planning out your summer adventures? While our West Jefferson Medical Center team wants you to have all the fun this summer, we also want you to stay safe and healthy. That’s why we’re offering up some tips for a healthy summer. Keep reading for all the details.

Summer’s health challenges

If you’ve lived here long, you know that a Louisiana summer brings us lots of beautiful days and chances to get outside, but it also brings along some health hazards. If you aren’t careful, the sun, hot temperatures and humidity can be a dangerous trifecta.

During the summer, heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion, become more common. It’s easy to overheat with average daily temperatures in the 90s throughout the summer.

The humidity is a contributing factor. When it’s particularly humid outside, sweat can’t evaporate as efficiently on your skin. Since sweating is your body’s primary method of cooling down, that can be dangerous.

The sun presents another challenge. While we want to soak it up, sun exposure can cause sunburns, accelerated signs of skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Don’t worry, though: You don’t need to stay inside this summer! Taking precautions can help you have a healthy summer.

7 tips for a healthy summer

Ready for your summer wellness plan? Protect your health with these tips:

Wear sunscreen. At least 20 minutes before going outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin. Don’t forget the frequently missed spots, including your toes, ears and neck.

Plan outdoor activities carefully. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so plan to spend time outside in the early morning or evening. You can also use the UV index to choose your outdoor time—stay indoors when the UV index is labeled as “very high” or “extreme.” If you plan to be outside during these peak sunlight hours, seek shade as much as possible.

Choose indoor exercise. You still need to exercise during the summer, but you may want to take your workouts indoors. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, such as a yoga class or a brisk walk on the treadmill. Indoor exercise isn’t your thing? Reference the note above about when to spend time outdoors.

Drink up. It’s easy to become dehydrated during the summer months, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water is best for helping you stay hydrated since many other beverages, including alcohol and caffeinated drinks, can be dehydrating.

Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables. What’s better in summertime than seasonal produce? These healthy foods are packed with antioxidants and nutrients, and they also just taste fabulous! Hit up a local farmers market to get the freshest fruits and veggies.

Choose your clothing wisely. When it’s hot outside, you might think that less clothing is better, right? In many cases, light-colored, loose clothing can be cooling, even if you’re wearing long sleeves and pants. The more skin you cover, the better protected you are from UV rays, too. Wide-brimmed hats can help shield your scalp and keep your head cooler, and sunglasses can protect your eyes.

Keep your food safe. Backyard BBQs are a staple of summer, but they can also be a source of food poisoning. When you’re preparing food and eating outside, be sure to practice food safety basics. One key rule: Eat those hot dogs and other foods immediately after they’ve been on the grill or store them away in the fridge. Leaving them out can cause bacteria growth, which can lead to food poisoning.

Not feeling at your best? Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at West Jefferson Medical Center for a quick diagnosis and treatment plan.