Summertime presents opportunities and challenges when it comes to your health. Make the most of them with these tips.
Protect your skin
Most families spend more time outside during the summer, whether it’s a vacation to the beach, a Saturday boat trip at the lake, a midday hike or a backyard water balloon fight. That means your body gets more exposure to sunlight, including harmful UV radiation.
Did you know the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes? The most preventable cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 90 percent of melanoma skin cancers are due to skin cell damage from UV radiation exposure.
That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and your children whenever possible.
Sun protection tips:
- Use a sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays with at least an SPF of 15. Avoid products that claim an SPF above 50.
- Apply 15 to 30 minutes before exposure, if possible, and reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or strenuous exercise.
- Pick sunscreen lotions and sticks ahead of sprays. Yes, sprays are easy and less messy, but they don’t provide a thick, consistent coat on your skin.
- Visit ewg.org/sunscreen/ for the 11th annual Guide to Sunscreens where you’ll find safety ratings to help you make the right purchase.
- Don’t stop at sunscreen – wear protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats. And don’t forget your sunglasses – your eyes are easily damaged by the sun, too.
Take care of school & sports physicals
Summer is a great time to schedule any needed physicals and doctor’s appointments for your family. Most schools require vaccinations to be up to date, and sports programs typically want a record of an annual physical.
Taking care of school and sports physicals during the summer months will save you the time and headache of trying to squeeze an appointment into your busy schedule once the school year ramps up again.
Keep moving, but stay cool and hydrated
Long summer days lend themselves to opportunities for outdoor exercise and activities, but Georgia’s heat and humidity can be a deterrent – and a hazard. According to the CDC, extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather event. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies can no longer properly compensate and cool themselves. That doesn’t mean you should let physical activity go by the wayside during the summer.
Incorporate seasonal fruits & veggies
The summer months provide a perfect opportunity to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. So many varieties are in season and grown locally. Stop by your local farmer’s market or the grocery store’s produce department for fresh options that are typically in season here from June through August.
Apps such as SuperCook, Allrecipes, and Epicurious allow you to search recipes and create meals based on ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
What to put in your cart this summer
Root vegetables, as well as cruciferous varieties like cabbage, kale and broccoli, fare well in Georgia’s milder winters, so don’t be surprised if you see additional options when you visit your neighborhood market. Contact an office near you to learn how our team can help keep you healthy this summer!