Tips for a Happy, Healthy Summer
Summertime, sweet summertime. Between longer days, bright sunshine, cookouts with friends, and time spent with family, there’s a lot to love about summer. Use the tips below to keep everyone happy and healthy all summer long!
Stay cool out there!
Even if you REALLY love summer, most of us can agree that there’s a certain point where the summer heat is simply too hot. But keeping cool when temperatures soar is about more than comfort. Temperatures as low as 90° F can cause issues like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Follow these tips to stay cool and safe in the summer heat:
- Timing is everything: If you typically exercise in the middle of the day, change your workout time to the morning or evening to take advantage of cooler parts of the day. If your schedule doesn’t have wiggle room, decrease the time or intensity of your workouts when it’s dangerously hot.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty: Help your body sweat and cool down by drinking water frequently. The exact amount varies from person to person, but it’s a good idea for active adults to drink 1-2 liters (68-135 oz) of water per day.
- Don’t overindulge: It might be tempting to cool down with a crisp soda or a refreshing cocktail, but caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Lighten up: Wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing can help sweat evaporate and keep you cooler. Pro tip: Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetic fabrics.
Have fun in the sun (safely)!
Protecting yourself from the summer sun is essential. About 20% of people in the United States will have skin cancer at least once by age 70, and one of the biggest risk factors is lots of exposure to UV radiation. That risk is amplified by having fair skin or a family history of skin cancer. Learn more about skin cancer and how to stop it before it starts.
If you’re spending time outside, be sure to protect as much of your skin as possible with clothing or a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply every 2 hours (or after swimming or sweating). And don’t forget -- it’s still important to cover up on cloudy days, as clouds offer little protection from UVA rays!
Keep your cookouts clean.
Summer is synonymous with barbecue season. We all love a good cookout, but we can pretty much guarantee that absolutely no one likes food poisoning.
Celebrate safely with these tips:
- Wash up: Wash hands, utensils, containers, and work surfaces before handling food and wash all fruits and vegetables prior to preparing food to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading.
- Don’t over-prepare: Cooking food the day before a cookout or picnic gives bacteria more time to grow, so food should be prepared as close as possible to the actual event to keep everyone safe.
- Keep it cool: Defrost and marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter (and don’t reuse marinade that touched raw meat or poultry!). Cold foods or foods containing dairy or mayonnaise should be stored in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice.
- When in doubt, throw it out: Leftovers that have been sitting out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F) should be tossed.
- Well done is done well: Ok, there’s some wiggle room here, but use a meat thermometer to make sure you’re cooking meat to the appropriate temperature. Hamburgers should be cooked to at least 160°F and chicken breasts to 165°F.
Your Firefly care team is here to help.
If you have questions about summer safety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Firefly Health care team. You can chat with us or schedule a visit in the app today. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up on our website or giving us a call at (855) 869-9284.