10 Tips for a Healthy Summer

Summer is here! And we’re offering 10 tips for a healthy summer to keep you safe from ticks, mosquitoes, sunburn and more.

  1. Always check the back seat: When you’re driving around with a pet or baby, leave something in the back such as a purse, backpack or phone that you’re going to need when you arrive. That way you’ll remember to retrieve your sleeping pet or baby, and prevent death due to a hot car. A closed car in the summer sun can go from 78°F to 100°F in 3 minutes and to 125°F in 6-8 minutes. Never leave pets or children in a parked car, even with the windows open.
  2. Cool down during extreme heat: Don’t rely on a fan during extreme heat. Seek air conditioned spaces such as a library, shopping mall or movie theater. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to beat the heat.
  3. It’s not like the movies: Drowning is usually quick and silent, not a Hollywood scene of struggling, splashing and cries for help. Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14. Keep a watchful eye on kids near water, and avoid distractions that would cause you to miss a child silently slipping under. Other ways to prevent drowning are taking swim lessons, wearing life jackets, and learning CPR.
  4. Know the signs of “dry drowning”: Water-related injury can also happen after leaving the water, sometimes referred to as “dry drowning.” This is rare and happens when water that is inhaled into the lungs damages the lungs. This can lead to difficulty or stopped breathing, and the heart not working properly. Symptoms of “dry drowning” include coughing, chest pain, fatigue, vomiting, and behavior changes and show up within 1 to 24 hours after swimming. Seek medical care right away if there has been significant water inhalation and/or you notice these symptoms.
  5. Use sunscreen and protective clothing: We’ve all heard about the importance of using sunscreen, even in the shade and on cloudy days. But did you know that tightly-woven protective clothing offers the best protection from the sun, and some comes with ultraviolet (UV) protection factor? Wet clothing offers less protection than dry. And a typical t-shirt has an SPF rating less than 15, so don’t just rely on a t-shirt to prevent sunburn.
  6. Check the expiration date: Most sunscreen comes with an expiration date on the bottle. Check before use, and if it doesn’t have a date, discard after three years. Exposure to high temperatures (think your hot car!) can also shorten the shelf life.
  7. Sunscreen first, then bug spray: If you need both, separate products are best. Apply sunscreen first (preferably about 15-30 minutes before sun exposure), then use just enough insect repellent to cover exposed skin.
  8. Choose the right repellent: Preventing tick and mosquito bites is particularly important to prevent West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and other tick-and-mosquito borne disease. The Environmental Protection Agency has a great search site to select the type of repellent needed. Always follow label instructions. https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you
  9. Call your health care provider if you remove a tick: Remove ticks as soon as you find them on your body, and always call your health care provider to determine if further treatment is needed. It’s important to check for ticks daily after being outside, even in Newton. Tick-borne disease isn’t just something that happens on Cape Cod.
  10. Check health travel advisories: Whether you’re traveling within the U.S. or farther abroad, the Travelers’ Health website hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice on everything from necessary vaccines to whether you need to prepare for Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

Adapted primarily from www.cdc.gov and www.mass.gov.dph For additional information and resources, visit www.newtonma.gov/health  

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