Some health tips for the summer

Summer is a time when people can be more focused on their health – or at least the way they look.
The sun, the beaches, the bugs – summer has it all.
But there are things to keep an eye out for when enjoying the outdoors this summer. Dr. Christina Soriano of SwedishAmerican sat down to give some tips for enjoying the summer and being safe.

Question: Summer is a time many people who don't think as much about it the rest of the year start thinking about health, and in particular exercise. What should folks know as they start on a program to get in better shape?

Answer: Coming from a tropical place, I always look forward to the next summer before the summer ends.
Any time of the year is a good time to start to stay in shape. January 1st has been a popular choice, albeit, short-lived for some. For those folks that are just breaking out from the cozy cocoon of winter and spring, it is important to start slow and gradually go from there.

Q: What are some good healthy activities for people in the summer?

A: We are blessed with good trails and lakes, jogging, hiking, biking, swimming are among a few of our choices. (The latter two are easier on the knees ;) ).

Q: How can people avoid heat stroke?

A: With the summer heat, exercising can be too much fun, but it is important to take breaks to stay hydrated by drinking enough fluids regularly, wear loose/lightweight clothes to avoid being too heated up; or if you want to enjoy the sceneries, try to do so early in the day before it gets too hot or later in the afternoon when it cools down.

 Q: People enjoy being outdoors during the summer, but we hear a lot these days about the dangers of ticks. What can people do to protect themselves, and what can they do if they are bitten?
A: To avoid the hitchhikers (ticks), try to wear light-colored long-sleeved (with cuff) clothes/socks so it is easy to spot ticks on your clothes, tucking the hems of the pants under the socks and do a tick check before heading back inside the house by checking the back of the ears/hairline/seams of the clothes.
If you find a tick stuck on you, use a set of fine tweezers and grip the tick as close to the skin as is possible; pull backwards gently while applying a firm and steady pressure. Avoid squeezing, crushing or puncturing the tick or using heat, skin products or other irritants as this can cause the tick to inject fluids into the wound. Wash your hands and the skin thoroughly with soap and water. If there are any mouth parts left in the wound, it is better to leave it alone since it will be expelled on its own.

Q: How can people best protect themselves and their families from skin cancer?

A: A few tips to prevent skin cancer: slather sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) regularly daily and more often with excessive sweating/swimming, avoid tanning beds (tanning lotions are better alternatives), wear long-sleeves, sunglasses and wide brimmed hats, and when possible avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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