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EDITORIALS
June 19, 2019

            Summer officially begins on Friday, and it's a good time to remind readers of some summer health hazards they may not be aware of.

            American Family Care has issued some summer health hazards and a few things you can do about them.

            Shower before making a splash – A new survey  by the Water Quality & Health Council  finds more than half of Americans use a swimming pool as a "communal bath" – and the more dirt, sweat and products like shampoo or deodorant, that mix with chlorine, the less the chlorine works to kill germs.  40% of the respondents to the survey also admitted to urinating in the pool as an adult.  This is why it's so crucial to shower before you jump into a pool.

            Stay tick smart.   Protect yourself from potentially fatal insect borne illnesses like Lyme disease this summer with these safety steps: Cover up in wooded or grassy areas, and wear long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Spray your skin with insect repellent with a 20 percent or higher concentration of DEET.   Parents should apply to children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouth.   Apply products with permethrin to clothing. Permethrin is an insecticide that can be sprayed on clothing to kill insects that touch them.

            After walks in wooded or grassy areas, vigilantly look for ticks.  They can remain on skin hours after attaching themselves to your body.  Shower and use a washcloth. Also toss your clothes in the dryer so the heat kills ticks. 

            Heat exhaustion happens before heat stroke. When your body overheats, you experience heavy sweating, dizziness, a rapid pulse, nausea, headache and/or cool, moist skin.  Go into a shady or air-conditioned space.  Remove tight, heavy clothing, lay down, slightly elevate legs and feet and drink cool water.

            When your body hits 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your brain, kidneys and muscles can be damaged and lead to serious complications.

            You can become a target for mosquitoes by drinking a cold beer on a balmy afternoon.   Research published by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association suggests alcohol may slightly raise your body temperature and making you more appealing to mosquitoes.  Your body produces lactic acid anytime you sweat and mosquitos find it irresistible.  Athletes can reduce lactic acid by washing with soap and thoroughly drying their skin after exercise. 

            Any and all bug bites can cause a severe allergic reaction. In most of these reactions, you will experience severe swelling of the lips, tongue and/or throat.  If left untreated, you can have trouble breathing.

            You can dehydrate if you spend long days outside at the pool, beach or park without a drink. You become dehydrated when your body is losing or using more fluid than you're taking in.  This happens in hot, humid weather when you sweat a lot.  Symptoms of dehydration include obvious thirst, dry mouth, irritability, fatigue and/or a weak pulse. Drink water or sports drinks with electrolytes.  Eat regular meals to replace salt lost while sweating.

            Stick to sunscreen standards.   No matter your age or your skin tone, AFC docs recommend always applying at least a 30 SPF sunscreen when going outdoors.

            Have a safe and happy summer.

· End of article ·  


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