Summer has a brief shelf life, or as William Shakespeare eloquently wrote, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” In this much-loved season, there is plenty of time to enjoy its bounty. Community Medical Center offers 25 healthy ways to enjoy the days of summer.
1. Sit on a front porch and enjoy a popsicle or ice cream treat. Make your own popsicles with white grape or apple juice. Here’s a great fruit smoothie recipe: Blend together small amounts of low fat yogurt, milk, fresh fruit and ice cubes.
2. Enjoy outside activities sensibly in warm weather. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing and a hat. If you are exercising, drink about a quart of liquids an hour to replace fluid losses. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which dehydrate.
3. Summer is travel time. The key to traveling safely is to visit a physician at least six weeks before departure. This allows time for immunizations, such as tetanus, hepatitis, measles, mumps, polio and influenza, to provide the highest protection.
4. Schedule medical appointments before the back-to-school rush. Men, women and children should have a yearly physical. Women age 40+ should have an annual mammogram and both men and women age 50+ should be screened annually for colorectal cancer.
5. Summer is the perfect time to learn something new. Beat the heat at one of Community Medical Center’s health and wellness programs this summer. Call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.barnabashealth.org for our schedule of classes.
6. Plan a festive barbecue with these grill safety tips: Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your home and keep children far away. Do not use the grill in a garage or under a surface that can catch fire. Keep a bucket of water nearby to douse flames. Never reapply lighter fluid after a fire has been started. Do use long handled utensils and hot mitts when grilling.
7. Remember these tips from to prevent water illness at the pool. Don’t allow your child to swim if he/she has diarrhea. Teach children not to swallow pool water and to practice good hygiene. Take bathroom breaks often.
8. Summer provides an opportunity for seniors to get outside. Medications taken for high blood pressure and heart disease remove salt and fluid from the body. Seniors taking these medications should increase their fluid intake, especially during warm weather.
9. Keep cool on warm days with a trip to a lake. Children should be told why jumping or diving into water can result in injury. Parents should know the depth of the water and the location of underwater hazards before permitting children to swim.
10. Don’t let pests ruin your nature walk. Hikers should tuck pant legs into socks or wear boots. Avoid walking in tall grasses where ticks are most prevalent. Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be seen.
11. Reduce the stress in your life and your heart will thank you. Some summer stress busters: read a favorite book, walk on the beach, attend an outdoor summer concert, take photos of loved ones, camp out in the back yard, collect seashells or lay in the grass and relish the day.
12. Plant a colorful garden that can be enjoyed all summer long. When gardening, avoid using scented products, such as perfumes and shampoos that attract insects.
13. Everyone enjoys a summer picnic. Food borne illness can be avoided by steering clear of raw or undercooked meat and seafood. Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
14. Tempted to quit your exercise routine because of the heat? Change it instead. Run or jog in the coolest part of the day instead of the warmest. Consider water aerobics or an exercise class in an air-conditioned environment.
15. Enjoy those golden rays of the sun, but make sure that skin is adequately protected. Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) should be applied throughout the day, even in cloudy conditions. Protect children with a hat, umbrella and sunscreen.
16. Children relish unscheduled days at home. Teach them to play safely on outside trampolines, in swimming pools, on bikes and skateboards and in-line skates. An estimated 40 percent of all childhood injury-related Emergency Department visits occur between May and August.
17. Set a course for adventure in a day of swimming. Never leave a child unsupervised in or around water. Children should not run or jump on others, and must wear life jackets. Remember that water that looks motionless may have a strong undercurrent.
18. If your days are highly structured, a lazy afternoon in a hammock can provide a restorative balance. Your body has two powerful systems: a stress response and a relaxation response. By relaxing your body, you will also quiet your mind.
19. Youngsters are susceptible to the dangers of heat. Children need to drink liquids frequently to avoid dehydration. The average 45-pound pre-schooler requires six 8-ounce cups of liquid daily. School-age children require seven 8-ounce cups of fluid a day.
20. A family hike can be exhilarating. Keep first aid supplies/emergency phone numbers accessible; check the weather forecast; pack essentials, such as flashlights, extra food, water and rain gear; and inform others when you will return.
21. Enjoy the great outdoors, but not when a storm is coming. At the first rumble of thunder or flash of lightening, get inside quickly and stay inside for at least a half an hour after the storm has passed. The air could still be charged with electricity and pose a threat.
22. Visit local farms for healthy fruits and vegetables. Pick blueberries. Buy corn. Prepare light summer menus that are heart healthy and satisfying.
23. Help your children prepare for the transition back to school. In the last week, try early bedtimes and early wake times. Let them select new back-to-school clothes and school supplies. Consider a picnic with a favorite menu the night before school starts.
24. Enjoying a soothing summer sunset is good medicine for anyone. Watch the motion of ocean waves or the ripples made by a stone thrown into a lake. Listen to the sound of crickets on a summer night. Let your senses find beauty and drink it in.
25. Remember that accidents do happen. Summer is a time for lots of fun, but if an accident or injury does occur, remember to stay calm and seek immediate medical treatment. For serious injuries or conditions, always call 911 or go right to the nearest Emergency Room.
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