PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Tips for a Healthy Summer

Posted on Jun 22, 2011

Summer equals fun – whether it’s a trip to the beach, a hike among soaring redwoods or firing up the barbecue with friends in your backyard. In this blog post, Terry Hollenbeck, M.D., from PAMF’s Scotts Valley Urgent Care Department, shares his top tips for staying healthy and safe while enjoying your favorite summer activities.

1.     Protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 about 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours. Reapply after a dip in the pool, even if you are using a water-resistant product. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection. These same tips apply to kids!

2.     Beware of the heat. To reduce the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, plan your adventures for the cooler morning and dusk hours. Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and always keep well hydrated.

3.     Look out for bugs.

  •  Mosquitoes: Ward of those pesky insects by using an insect repellant containing DEET. If you’ve been stung, use ice and an over-the-counter antihistamine to sooth itchiness.
  • Bees, wasps and yellow jackets: If you get stung, ice will numb the pain. If you’re stung by a honeybee, pull out the stinger as quickly as possible. If you’ve previously had a serious reaction to insect stings, go to the nearest medical facility for care.
  • Ticks: Check yourself and loved ones carefully if you’ve been out hiking in woody and grassy areas. It usually takes a while for a tick to become attached and more than 24 hours for it to spread infection. If a tick has become embedded, grab it with a pair of tweezers as close to the skin as possible, and slowly pull it straight out.

4.     Know how to recognize poison oak. Poison oak is everywhere and your best protection is making sure you and your family recognizes and avoids it. If you do brush against poison oak, rinse the oily residue off your skin and clothing as soon as possible with soap and water.

5.     Be water safe. Make sure your kids are always supervised when they are in a swimming pool, lake or the ocean. Watch out for currents, rocks or rip tides, and always be aware or your surroundings.

6.     Take care of what you eat. Enjoying an outdoor picnic or barbecue? Don’t eat anything that has been sitting out too long to avoid food poisoning. Remember to always wash your hands and all utensils with hot soapy water before preparing food.

Dr. Terry Hollenbeck is a physician at PAMF’s Scotts Valley Urgent Care Department. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine.