4 Ways you’ll get sick this summer

ways you get sick in summerIllness is most commonly associated with the winter months. As temperatures dip, our immune system seems to take a nose dive. So when summer arrives and the mercury rises, we live more carelessly with minimal fear of getting sick.

But just because it’s sunny and warm outside doesn’t mean the threat of illness goes away. While the risk of catching the common cold might seem lower, there are other summertime health threats we should try to avoid. Here are four common illnesses you can get in summer and how to avoid them.

4 summertime illnesses to avoid


1. Recreational water illnesses (RWI)

Recreational water illnessesAs temperatures rise, it seems like a good idea to cool off at a public pool. Not only is swimming a great form of exercise, but it can provide relief from the heat. Unfortunately, public pools and water areas can harbor bacteria and germs that can lead to a slew of illnesses. From gastrointestinal illnesses to ear infections, public water areas are a breeding ground for bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an increase in the number of RWIs associated with swimming. The most common threat is a germ called Crypto, which causes diarrhea and can live in pools for a number of days. Notably, chlorine isn’t the answer. Many strains of germs and bacteria are resistant to chlorine.

Tips to lower your risk

So should we just bare the heat and avoid public, water recreation centers altogether? Not necessarily. There are ways you can lower your risk of contracting an RWI. (Certainly, if you are suffering from diarrhea avoid public pools.) Always shower before entering public pools, never swallow the water and do not pee in the pool! By following these tips you can better avoid recreational water illnesses and beat the heat instead of getting sick.

2. Food poisoning

food poisioning symptomsFood poisoning can strike at any time of year, but summertime brings its own set of challenges. As we head outdoors for picnics and barbecues, the risk of food poisoning increases.

Bacteria loves warm temperatures as much as we do, and the hotter it gets, the more bacteria will thrive. When we leave our burgers, appetizers and hotdogs outside in the heat, they are more likely to grow harmful bacteria. Here are some tips to make sure your next meal doesn’t make you sick:

Tips to lower your risk

  • Chill: Keep food at a cool temperature, a cooler or ice packs can help.
  • Separate: Keep all raw meat away from other food items.
  • Clean: Always wash your hands and utensils, especially if you’re touching different foods.
  • Cook: Cook all raw meat to their appropriate internal temperatures.
  • Leftovers: Cool leftover food and keep it sealed in a container.

3. Air conditioning

summer illness due to ACResearch indicates that working in offices with the AC pumped up leads to headaches, fatigue and a higher susceptibility to catching colds and flu. If you already have a chronic illness air conditioners can make your symptoms worse. For example, they can make managing pain due to arthritis harder, and if you have low blood pressure the symptoms might worsen in an AC environment.

Tips to lower your risk

Air conditioning can be harsh on people suffering from breathing problems since they circulate dust and germs. In fact, the Louisiana State Medical Center did research that found a variety of different molds growing inside car AC systems. So unless there is an extreme heat alert you might want to keep the windows open.

4. Sunburns

sunburns in summerMake sure your quest for a healthy glow doesn’t lead to sunburn. Every time you get sunburn you damage your skin. These sometimes painful burns can make wearing a light T-shirt seem impossible. More importantly, sunburns make you more susceptible to melanoma – a type of skin cancer.

Tips to lower your risk

Always wear sunscreen and make sure you’re reapplying it – especially if you enter the water. Try to keep your time in the sun to a minimum during the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Check the weather report before you head out to prepare yourself. Lastly, wear light clothing to cover up will help keep you sunburn-free.

These are just four summertime illnesses you can catch. The key to preventing them is to be prepared. Putting these tips into practice will help you enjoy your summer illness-free.

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