Thursday, June 7, 2007

Keep your family healthy this summer

Follow these tips to keep your family healthy this summer.

Beat the heat. Excessive warm-weather activity can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, particularly when humidity is high. “The importance of hydration cannot be overstressed,” says Dr. Zenarosa. Drink plenty of water, and switch to sports drinks if you’ll be working or exercising in the heat for a long stretch. Limit outdoor activities when heat alerts are forecast. If you begin to feel dizzy or nauseated, get out of the heat and drink some Gatorade or water. Try to speed the cooling process by wiping down your skin with moist cloths and sitting in front of a fan.Young children and the homebound elderly are especially at risk for heat illness. Check on relatives, and never leave kids or pets in the car.

Don’t get burned. Use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and limit sun exposure. The same goes for kids. “Children’s skin is more sensitive to the sun,” says Dr. Zenarosa.

Bug off. Use insect repellent containing DEET, particularly at dawn or dusk. Few people develop West Nile virus, but keep an eye out for fever, headache and body aches after a recent outing where you may have been bitten.

Put it on ice. When picnicking, bring ice packs to keep cold food cold. “Don’t leave food out very long. Anything made with eggs or mayonnaise can go bad very quickly,” says Dr. Zenarosa. Toss leftovers unless you’re certain they’ve been kept properly chilled. Make sure grilled meat is cooked thoroughly.

Just say no. Alcohol increases dehydration and mental impairment and is a big factor in many car and watercraft accidents.

Lock and latch. Kids wander away quickly, so be sure your swimming pool is secure. If you’re planning a road trip, buckle up.

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