Beat the Summer Heat
By Jessica Cho, HealthCorps Summer Intern 2019
School’s out and summer’s in! The summer season is always fun and festive with more time spent outdoors and on vacation. Let the good times roll, but don’t forget about your health. Here are some easy tips to stay safe in the sun and all summer long!
Staying hydrated is one of the keys to summer; it’s a rule of thumb. Water is one of the most basic human necessities! Our bodies are comprised of 75% water. The average recommended daily goal is 8 glasses, which converts to about 2 liters or 1/2 a gallon. You may, however, want to up your intake on those sweltering days where temps are over 90 degrees or if you are spending more time outside.
This season you want to be sure to carry a water bottle with you everywhere to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. If plain water doesn’t sound appealing, try adding fruit to your water for a kick of flavor or try naturally flavored sparkling water.
Adding some flavor to your water may give you more incentive to keep drinking. But water isn’t the only way we can quench our thirst in the summer! The water content of certain foods is often overlooked, but tons of fruits and vegetables are packed with water and can be a reliable source of hydration. Watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, cantaloupe, zucchini, celery, and grapefruit, for example, are comprised of over 90% water! Fruits and vegetables that are 85% or more water can help you stay hydrated and let’s face it… the more variety the better.
Protect the Skin You’re In!
Protecting your skin and other body parts is super important in the summertime although slapping on sunscreen may be low on your priority list. The sun can damage your skin within 15 minutes! Applying sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to take care of your skin during the summer months. Be sure to reapply every two hours, after swimming, or sweating. If you’re not a fan of sunscreen, natural oils such as jojoba, sweet almond oil, lavender, and carrot seed are amazing at protecting your skin from the sun. But remember, not all natural oils have an SPF that is strong and effective enough for everyone.
Fun tip: Despite all the things to look forward to in the summer, many people dread the mosquitos and bugs most. All citrus essential oils (lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange oil) act as an excellent natural pest repellent, which can be combined with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or water. A common practice is to combine the two in a spray bottle or in a container. These oils also have natural anti-inflammatory benefits.
Keep Cool and Check on your Buddies
Rising temperatures and prolonged exposure to the sun can be very dangerous. Try avoiding direct sunlight for long periods of time and if you do have to be outside, consider utilizing sun protection strategies:
- Seek shaded areas (areas with trees are great and breezy)
- Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim
- Wear light colored clothing (avoid black, it attracts heat)
- Set air conditioners to 70-78 degrees to conserve energy
- Visit local cooling centers & pools (malls and other public venues with central air)
- Try to schedule outdoor physical activity after sunset
The heat and sun can also put certain populations at higher risk for heat stroke and other heat related illnesses. Make sure to check on small children, family, friends, and neighbors who are elderly or have a medical condition.
Have a great summer and remember health is wealth!