I can still remember how with all eagerness I would look forward to the end of each school year. It meant saying goodbye to homework and waking up early, and saying hello to the beach, bathing suits and lots of fun and sun! When I got older, I realized that the warm summer months are not always fun, especially since they pose an increased risk to our health.
Here are some of the most common summer health problems and easy ways to prevent them or manage the symptoms.
What it is Dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluids than the amount we take in. Since it is said that an average person loses between two and three liters of water through our urine and sweat, dehydration can happen quickly. By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated, so avoid becoming thirsty in the first place. Your urine color will also be a good indicator – the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
What to do Have water or juices handy wherever you go. Don't forget that children can sometimes get so engrossed with play that they will forget to ask for water even if they are thirsty.
“Remember that infants, toddlers and kids become dehydrated much more easily than us adults, so be sure they get lots of fluids.” reminds Dr. Aileen Binuya, a pediatrician from Capitol Medical Center. “If, during an outdoor game they start to feel exhausted, give them a break to rest and rehydrate.”
What it is Dr. Kristine Legaspi, a dermatologist at the UST Hospital, understands how everyone wants to be out in the sun during summer, but warns that “people who spend lots of time in the sun or have been sunburned have an increased risk of skin cancer.”
What to do Prevention is always the best cure. “The best way to treat a sunburn is to avoid being burned”, adds Dr. Legaspi. The sun is harshest between 10 am and 2 pm, making you more susceptible to damage. If possible, stay indoors during these times. Use a good sunscreen and re-apply frequently. Sunscreens come in different SPFs (Sun Protection Factor) and choosing one is not difficult. Generally, the lower the SPF number, the less protection you will get.
Other options for avoiding sunburn include protective gears such as hats, sunglasses and beach umbrellas to keep cool and shaded from the sun's UV rays.
Click here to see more common summer health problems and how you can deal with them.