Why Family Medicine is ImportantSummer is known as a time for fun, exploration, and relaxation. Many people like to let loose and enjoy the hot weather, but it’s important to remember that the longer days and high temperatures can be accompanied by health risks. It’s vital to take care of your body and mind during the summer months to stay healthy and avoid any potential problems. That's why we've made a list of 10 tips to help you enjoy a fun-filled, happy and healthy summer.

  1. 1. Protect Yourself From The Sun

    Too much sun exposure can lead to skin damage and other serious health problems like skin cancer. Excessive amounts of UV light can often put you at higher risk of developing skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, which can become dangerous if left untreated.

    To protect yourself from skin cancer, wear sunscreen every time you go outside, even on cloudy days. Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating or swimming. Try your best to seek shade when possible, and cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing when you’re in the sun.

  2. 2. Stay Hydrated

    It’s important to drink plenty of water, especially during the summer months when you are likely to spend more time outdoors. As you participate in outdoor activities like playing sports or going to the beach, make sure you pack a water bottle to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes. Staying hydrated will help you feel your best and prevent dehydration.

  3. 3. Stay Active

    The best way to keep a healthy lifestyle during the summer is to be active. Engaging in regular physical activity, whether it's a structured exercise plan or just being active with friends, can have a great impact on your physical and mental health. Take advantage of the warmer weather and get in some physical activity outside as much as possible. Aerobic exercise is great for your cardiovascular health and can aid in weight loss. There are plenty of outdoor fitness classes offered in local parks during the summer that you can join, or you can go on a scenic bike ride with friends or family. Not only will you feel better by staying active, but you’ll also get a great dose of vitamin D from the sun.

  4. 4. Keep a Healthy Diet

    If you’re looking to keep a healthy lifestyle this summer, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Eating foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels and overall heart health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help boost your immune system and protect your body against diseases. Try heading to your local farmer's market to get some in-season produce to help you incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal.

  5. 5. Limit Alcohol Intake

    While it’s perfectly fine to enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine on a hot summer day, be sure to drink in moderation. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to dehydration, which can then lead to a variety of medical problems. It’s important to stay hydrated when drinking alcohol, so be sure to drink some water in between alcoholic beverages.

  6. 6. Opt For Healthy Grilling

    Grilling is a summertime staple, but it’s important to be mindful of the type of food you’re grilling. Processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, and burgers can often be high in saturated fats, which can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, try grilling lean protein like chicken or fish, and load up your plate with fresh vegetables.

  7. 7. Practice Summer Food Safety

    Summertime is the season for family cookouts and barbeques, but it's important to be safe when cooking your food outdoors. Foodborne illnesses are more common in the warm weather months, and there are several risk factors to consider when grilling, such as:

    • Raw meat can easily contaminate other food, so be sure to keep it separate from other items on the grill.
    • Warm weather provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so it's important to cook food thoroughly.
    • If you or someone you know starts showing symptoms of a foodborne illness, like vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical help immediately.

    By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a safe and delicious summer BBQ season.

  8. 8. Know The Signs of Heat Exhaustion

    Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a game of family football or play with your dogs in the park. But, when participating in outdoor activities during high temperatures, it's imperative to keep safety in mind. A high body temperature can lead to heat exhaustion, which could require medical help. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

    • Profuse sweating.
    • Headache.
    • Dizziness.
    • Nausea.
    • Muscle cramps.
    • Tiredness.

    If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure you move to a cooler location and drink lots of fluids. It can also help to remove excess clothing, put a cool, damp cloth on your body, or take a cool bath. You can rest until your symptoms go away, but you should call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.

  9. 9. Know The Signs of Heat Stroke

    High body temperatures can lead to serious medical problems, like heat stroke. Before reaching the point of heat stroke, you may experience symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke if left untreated. Heat stroke is marked by the following symptoms:

    • High body temperature.
    • Hot and dry skin.
    • A rapid and strong pulse.
    • Possible unconsciousness.

    If you or someone you're with experiences any of these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately. To prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke, wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing, drink plenty of fluids, and take breaks in shady or air-conditioned areas as needed. As long as you take precautions, you can stay safe and enjoy your summer activities.

  10. 10. Keep an Eye on Your Mental Health

    Just like your physical health, your mental health is important to maintain. The summer can be a difficult time for some, as the changes in schedules and routines that come with vacations and school breaks can lead to feeling overwhelmed or out of control, for some people. If you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional for help. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family and friends, but it's important to keep your health in mind. By following these simple tips, you can stay safe and healthy all season long and enjoy your best summer yet. If you or a loved one are struggling to stay healthy this summer, reach out to the care team at Genesis Medical Associates. Whether you've sustained an injury outdoors, need help managing a healthy lifestyle, or need to check up on your mental health, the primary care providers at Genesis Medical Associates can help.

Genesis Medical Associates is dedicated to providing families with access to primary care and improving the overall health and wellness of our patients. We offer a variety of services including primary care, behavioral counseling, cardiology, telemedicine, and more. Visit one of our many Pittsburgh, PA locations or schedule an appointment online today.