| 03.24.2018

A healthy summer — Summer poses different health problems, stay safe


Summer is one of everyone’s favorite parts of the year. Finally finishing up with school graduating or not the three months off are the perfect time to relax and have some fun. There are plenty of opportunities to have fun in the sun, especially in Idaho. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your summer is as safe as it is fun. 

First, if you drink alcohol, drink water in between every drink. Alcohol, although it is a beverage, dehydrates your body. This is a large reason the day after drinking can be so painful. Consuming enough water before, during and after your drink is important for your health, whether it tastes good or not.

With that, avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Just because students forget to eat before they start to drink, their body is still searching
for nutrients.

Many summer holidays, including the Fourth of July, are synonymous with heavy drinking, and are also associated with an increase in vehicle accidents across the U.S. Be sure to make the best decisions for yourself and those around you.

Second, use protection. By protection I’m talking from the sun, bugs and also from STDs. Just because we are away from school where STDs tend to be more common, it doesn’t mean they are not prevalent.

The only way to protect yourself and others from STDs is to use a condom — male and female condoms are available. If you plan on sleeping with a new partner, get tested and encourage them to get tested to prevent the spread of any infections. All STDs can be treated and some can be cured, so it is important to keep in contact with your doctor.

When it comes to the sun, use sunscreen. Every morning I use a daily moisturizer that has SPF 30. It provides me with instant protection when I walk out the door. However, if you apply once, don’t think you are done. Don’t forget to reapply, especially during prolonged periods in the sun to prevent sunburns.

My other favorite trick is to wear a baseball hat, which provides more protection from the sun and it is low maintenance.

To prevent mosquito and other bug bites, you can use sunscreen with Deet included or find another bug repellent that works best for you. Avoid standing bodies of water in the evening to prevent mosquito bites as well.

It’s important to have a relaxing summer and relieve your body and mind from all of the stress the school year has caused. Exercise, social events, proper nutrition and overall relaxation are great ways to get back in touch with you.

Melanie Martin can be reached at vandalhealthed@uidaho.edu

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