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Community Health: Education, Prevention & Inspiration

Take care of yourself this summer

Summer is here again and with it comes extra factors to consider for your health particularly when spending time out in the sun and heat!

Remember to stay hydrated. Many people drink water only when they are thirsty, but by that time, they are already dehydrated. Watch for signs of dehydration such as weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, headache, and confusion. Make sure to drink plenty of water or other non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic clear beverages. Water, though, is the optimal choice throughout the day as other beverages are higher in calories and can contain sugar. Keeping a bottle of water with you will help remind you to drink it throughout the day. Set consumption goals for yourself or schedule water breaks throughout the day to keep you on track. You do not have to drink plain water; you can add ice and sliced fruit.

Take breaks throughout the day especially if you are spending time outdoors. Do not overexert yourself in this weather. It can lead to heatstroke which is when your body temperature rises dangerously (over 104°F), you experience a fast pulse, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, lethargy, and passing out. Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing to help keep you cool in the summer. Dark colors absorb heat.

Spending time outdoors allows your skin to take in the sunlight to help your body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D will help the body absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Although the sun does the body well, too much exposure can lead to other problems so be sure to protect yourself by using sunscreen.

Check on your neighbors – social distancing could have led to more people especially older adults to be on their own without visitors or anyone to interact with in person. Look for signs that they are ok. Hopefully, their mail has not been piling up; their lights come on in the evening and off at night, garbage and recyclable bins have been put out and picked up. With proper precautions, stop by and see for yourself that they are fine. A neighborly and kind thing to do would be to offer to shop for a few groceries for them or maybe even mow their lawn. With this heat, make sure they have adequate cooling in their house. There are local organizations that can assist residents with this. Kindness goes a long way.

Summer will be gone before you know it so enjoy every minute of it making sure to take the recommended precautions for your health!