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After a long, cold winter, we are all looking forward to spending some much needed time outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather summer brings!  However, with that come the possibilities of danger, as the summertime heat can become brutal.  Keeping cool during summer isn’t just for comfort but also for your wellness. 

Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage, and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and cool themselves properly. Extreme heat affects everyone, but the elderly, children, the poor or homeless, persons who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions are most at risk.

Follow these tips below to stay cool this summer:

  1. Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can't change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
  2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
  3. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
  4. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  5. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
  6. Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
  7. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you're ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you'll have a supply of cold water with you.
  8. Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
  9. Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
  10. Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
  11. I learned this trick from a tennis pro: if you're wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
  12. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
  13. Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won't have to cook next to a hot stove.
  14. If you don't have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
  15. Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don't forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.
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Avoiding Sunburns

Summer is when we spend much of our time outdoors swimming, hiking, horseback riding or other activities.  But we all know sunburns can be problematic, so keep sunburns from ruining your outdoor fun with these tips!

  • Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply it every hour and half to two hours.
  • Use a sunscreen of at least 15 SPF, and don’t forget to apply it to all exposed skin. You can even find Chapstick to protect your lips.  They come in lots of cool flavors too!
  • Everyone loves shorts and t-shirts in summertime, but remember that the sun can burn any skin you show.  Consider wearing hats to protect your head and face, and longer sleeves to keep the sun off. 
  • Even waterproof and sweat proof sunscreen will come off eventually.  Don’t forget to reapply it!
  • Remember, the sun doesn’t have to be shining for you get sunburned.  So long as it’s daytime, you can still get burned, even if its cloudy out!
  • If you do get a burn, you can remove a lot of the pain by applying aloe vera to your burn.  Ask at any grocery store or pharmacy to find some!
  • When aloe vera isn’t enough to take out the sting, try acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve the pain.  Benadryl is another great medicine to treat sunburns.
  • If you start developing blisters, they may become infected.  Talk to your doctor about medicine that can help treat the infection.

For additional information on sunburn prevention or treatment, talk to our pharmacists.  Additional summertime savings are available in the pharmacy every month!

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With summer in full swing, many of you and your children will want to take advantage of this reprieve from cold weather and enjoy some quality time outdoors; remember though, summertime warmth comes with the risk of sunburn.  Here are some things to keep in mind about protecting yourself and your children from the sun.

Prevention:

  • Wear hats to help protect your face and scalp from sunburn.

  • Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to any and all exposed skin at least 15-30 minutes before going outdoors.  Some commonly overlooked areas to protect from the sun are the back of your neck, your lips, the part-line of your hair and around your eyes. 

  • Water cannot protect you from sunburn!  If you or your family members are going to be playing in the water, make sure to apply waterproof sunscreen, and don’t forget to reapply it at least every two hours, whether you’re in the water or not.

  • Clouds cannot protect you from sunburn either!  So long as it’s daytime outside, you can still get burned, no matter how thick the cloud cover is. 

  • Even if you or your children are not prone to getting burned, it’s still important to protect your skin from the sun.  Several detrimental skin conditions and disorders, including skin cancer, can develop, even if an individual has never been burned, if exposure to the sun is great enough.

  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun can be reflected off of sand, snow and other surfaces.  Be careful that all of your body is protected, not just from the sun itself, but from anything that might reflect its light.

  • Babies under six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight whenever possible.  Keep any children in this age range in the shade of an umbrella, baby carriage, trees or wide brimmed hats whenever possible.  Consult a pediatrician before deciding what, if any, sunscreen to use on a child of this age.

Treatment:

  • The extract from aloe vera is a safe, natural and effective remedy for sunburns.  It can be easily found at the pharmacy or convenience store.  Apply a thin film as needed of the burn.

  • When aloe vera is not enough to treat the pain, consider adding acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Benadryl to treat the burn.

  • Sever sunburn can sometimes lead to other medical problems, including dehydration, heatstroke, or infection.  In the event that blisters, fever, chills, headache or a general unwell feeling follows the development of sunburn, consult your primary care physician immediately. 

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