This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Oxford Health & Life Magazine.
A little preparation will make this your safest summer yet. Most of us can't wait for summer’s carefree days—
but carefree shouldn’t mean careless. Without taking
some precautions while you’re outside, summer can end
up being a real pain. Follow these tips to ensure that
avoidable health problems don’t take the fun out of your
Almost all sunburns can be prevented. Adults and teens
should apply sunblock with a sun protection factor
(SPF) of at least 30. For toddlers and younger children, a
sunblock with an SPF of 45 is best. Children have thinner
skin than adults and can get a serious burn more quickly.
Regardless of age, it’s important to lotion up at least
every two hours and right after swimming. Keep infants
under 6 months out of direct sunlight and dress them
in light-colored, lightweight pants and shirts with long
sleeves, using a brimmed hat to protect baby’s head.
Some of the most common summer illnesses are heatrelated.
They include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and
heatstroke, which can cause multi-organ damage if left
untreated. Use caution exercising on hot, humid days.
Dress in light, loose clothing and drink lots of water
(don’t wait until you’re thirsty). Avoid alcohol and caffeine,
which dehydrate the body. If children seem lethargic after
prolonged heat exposure, give them plenty to drink, take
them into an air-conditioned area and have them rest or
Who doesn’t love to indulge in a refreshing dip on a hot
summer day? But having fun doesn’t mean letting down
your guard. Watch children around any water environment,
whether it’s the ocean, a lake, a pool or even a
wading pool or tub. An adult should be within arm’s
length at all times. If you have a pool keep rescue equipment,
such as a shepherd’s hook (a long pole with a
hook on the end), a life preserver and a portable phone,
nearby. And when you’re planning a pool party that will
keep you busy, consider calling your local YMCA
or pool club to hire a certified lifeguard.
Beat the Bugs
Usually, mosquito bites are a minor
inconvenience, leaving behind an
itchy bump that’s bothersome for
a day or two then disappears.
But it’s important to limit bites
because mosquitoes can carry
diseases. In Florida, those include
West Nile virus, Eastern
equine encephalitis and St.
Louis encephalitis. Play it
safe by covering your skin
with clothing and using
mosquito repellent. Around
your home, use door
and window screens to
keep bugs out and drain
any standing water to stop
mosquitoes from reproducing.
Ticks can also carry
disease, including Lyme
disease. If you’re going
to be in a wooded or
grassy area, wear protective
shirts, long pants,
hats and closed-toe
you get back