When the sun finally comes out and the weather starts to change, you can tell that summer is nearby. It’s a great time to spend more time outside, but you may be more prone to summertime illnesses and injuries like allergies, insect bites, sunburns, rashes, cuts and scrapes, dehydration, and asthma. Here are some things to watch out for:
It can sometimes be difficult to do outdoor activities in the hot summer sun even if you don’t have asthma or breathing problems—if you do have asthma, you’ll want to be extra careful. Although the fall and winter are considered the peak seasons for asthma, summertime is no exception. A couple reminders:
- Keep your “rescue” inhaler on hand at all times. Short-acting rescue inhalers (like Proair HFA, Ventolin HFA, Proventil HFA, or Xopenex HFA) can give you immediate relief.
- Continue to use your “maintenance” inhalers daily even if you don’t have problems breathing. Maintenance inhalers (like Symbicort, Advair, or Dulera) help to maintain your airways and decrease inflammation.
April showers bring May flowers which in turn bring pesky allergies! Those beautiful flowers and trees cause an increase in certain pollens, which lead to allergy symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, and hives.
You can find various over the counter antihistamines to treat these allergy symptoms right in your local pharmacy or grocery store. These include Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Nasacort Allergy, and Zaditor. Depending on your preference or type of allergy, antihistamines and other allergy meds are available in tablets, chewable or orally dissolving tablets, capsules, liquids, eye drops, nasal sprays, creams, gels, and topical sprays.
Bites and Stings
In the upcoming summer months with picnics and cookouts on the rise, it is no surprise you will start to see more bees. Bees tend to make themselves welcome wherever there is food and sweet summer drinks such as soda, iced tea, and lemonade. It is important that if you have a bee allergy to remember to keep your epinephrine (like Epipen or Auvi-Q) on hand at ALL times whether you are at a picnic, pool party, BBQ, or even vacation.
If you aren’t allergic, antihistamines can also be used to help reduce inflammation and itchiness associated with common summer insect bites such as mosquito bites and bee stings.
Remember, you can get a sunburn even on a cloudy day! It is important to slather that sunscreen on whether the sun is shining bright or not. There are various products out there with a wide range of SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor). If you have a hard time applying or don’t like the feel of sunscreen, know that it comes in many different forms, including creams, lotions, gels, sprays, and sport sticks.
What type of sunscreen is best? The sun gives off ultraviolet radiation known as UVA and UVB, so you want a sunscreen that protects your skin against both types of light to prevent current and future skin damage. My recommendation would be to use a broad spectrum sunscreen such as Coppertone SPORT AccuSpray or a Neutrogena sunscreen. These broad spectrum products contain dual protection against both UVA and UVB light and should be applied every 2 hours.
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No matter what you do this summer, have fun and remember to make smart choices about your health!