We’re outdoors more, enjoying nature and the sun and waterways and eating picnic food that may or may ?not have been cooked or stored properly. While it can be a lot of fun, it can also lead to various illness and conditions that can sideline your or your family for a weekend. Take steps to keep yourself healthy this summer.
More people outside means more infections from insect bites, which the CDC reported has increased at surprising rates in recent years. In 2016, almost 100,000 disease cases came from infected mosquitoes, ticks and fleas — triple the rates of a decade ago. Some of that could be attributed to new illnesses or diseases that have traveled from other countries.
To avoid infection while still enjoying the outdoors, always use insect repellent; wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors; treat boots, pants, socks and tents with permethrin; appropriately treat and frequently check pets for fleas and ticks; and take steps to keep your yard and surrounding areas free from pests.
It sounds simple, but protecting your skin from sun damage can drastically decrease your risk of skin cancer. According to the CDC, nearly 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer annually. While most skin cancer is very treatable, it still costs upwards of $8 billion each year — and most of the damage could be prevented through proper care.
The CDC recommends sunscreen of at least SPF 15 with frequent reapplication, covering all of their exposed skin (that includes the hairline, top of the head, ears, top of the feet and anywhere else the sun could hit). Wear a hat with a brim and take frequent breaks in the shade to stave off sunburn.
It’s the season of picnics, barbecues and potlucks — lots of opportunities to make or eat food in less than ideal conditions, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. One of the biggest culprits is mayonnaise-based foods like potato salad that spent too long out of the fridge and spoiled. Make sure to keep foods at the proper temperatures and keep raw meat away from vegetables and fruit salads. Cook foods to the right temperatures and don’t let anything sit out too long. Wash your hands and cooking surfaces often.