5 Summer Health Concerns Doctors Warn About

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Summer is upon us — and doctors are warning against summer-related health issues. While we may absolutely love being out in the warm weather, it comes with health risks specific to the season. Here are the concerns you need to keep in mind while enjoying all of your favorite summer activities:

  1. Athlete’s Foot – Caused by the same fungus as jock itch and ringworm, athlete’s foot is characterized by scaly, itchy, stinging and burning rashes on feet, many times between the toes. If left untreated, it can get infected and lead to more trouble. The fungus is found on wet surfaces like at the poolside or in locker rooms. It becomes worse once you put shoes on or when you sweat. It can be treated with the use of antifungal powders and creams.
  2. Foodborne Illnesses – The summer is the perfect time to have a cookout or a picnic, but many people do not allow their food the proper amount of time to cook. Ground beef or pork needs to be 160 degrees, while chicken and turkey need to reach 165 degrees. The heat in the summer months makes it easier for bacteria to grow on all of your foods, so make sure you don’t leave anything out for too long and wash your hands and utensils well. Opt for healthy food options like fruits and veggies that aren’t likely to go bad too quickly.
  3. Heat Stroke – Summer is a great season to get outside! Though normally fewer than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, that number goes up in the summer with festivals, theme parks, and days at the beach. If you aren’t careful though, you may have to call it a day early — especially if you’re struggling with a lot of belly fat. Heat exhaustion and stroke happen when someone is exposed to high temperatures and doesn’t drink enough liquids to make up for what their body is using. Heat stroke, which is more serious than heat exhaustion, occurs when the body surpasses 106 degrees, and it can be life-threatening. You should immediately call 911 if you or someone around you seems to be suffering from this condition.
  4. Sunburns – Lying out on the beach and taking in the sun’s rays is a wonderful way to relax — for short periods of time. It’s common knowledge that too much sun can lead to skin cancer down the road, but even just one bad burn can be a serious health concern. In some of the worst cases, blisters develop, which can lead to infection. And if you get sunburn on your freshly pierced ears, an infection could be inevitable. Patients with bad sunburns are actually treated like burn victims. Experts recommend being diligent with sunscreen use, and limiting one’s exposure to sunlight.
  5. Poison Ivy – Last but certainly not least, poison ivy can make your summer miserable. With more hikers out and about, or even people just wandering through woods near home, poison ivy is a worry often overlooked until someone gets a rash. Caused by an oily black substance in the leaves called urushiol, doctors can usually tell right away when you have a poison ivy rash.

Ella Toombs, a Washington dermatologist, says it’s usually easy for physicians to spot a poison ivy rash because it’s linear — a line of bumps, often weepy-looking — rather than diffuse, as only the skin that actually has touched the plant reacts to the oil. In cases involving the face, eyes or genitals, when the rash covers most of your body, or if you’ve inhaled smoke from a fire in which poison ivy has been burnt, a prescription drug such as prednisone may be required to calm your body’s reaction.

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