Summer Health Risks: Stay Clear Of These Top Risk Factors
Hello, sunshine, warmer days, summer rains and holidays! Hooray! Summer is here. But just before you grab your sunglasses, put on your costume and head outside, make sure you are aware of these top summer health risks.
Although summer is a fun and happy time in which we love to be outdoors and in the sun, there are also a number of health risks that come with it. Stay safe this summer and get clued up on the top 9 health risks of summer.
1. Skin cancer
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world? In fact, there are over a million people who are diagnosed with skin cancer each year.
If your doctor is able to detect skin cancer early, then it can easily be treated. Skin cancer is more commonly seen in those who:
- Are older than 50
- Have fair skin, light hair and light coloured eyes
- Have a family member who was diagnosed with cancer
- Have spent a lot of time outside and have been sunburned a few times in their life
It’s a good idea to regularly check for skin cancer with routine healthcare checkups with your doctor and apply sunscreen when you are outside.
Heatstroke is more serious than people may think. This health condition can be life-threatening if left untreated. When you have heatstroke, your body’s core temperature will rise. Basically, your body overheats which can cause serious damage internally. Heatstroke is an emergency situation and you will need immediate medical attention and care.
Here are some of the signs of heatstroke:
- High body temperature (40 C) or higher
- Confusion, slurred speech, irritability
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Throbbing head
3. Food poisoning
Summer means that more food is left out in the open where it can stay warm for prolonged periods of time. Which is something we are all guilty of as we tend to have more picnics (food left outside for long) and more braais (think about all that meat sitting in the sun).
Try to keep food cool for as long as possible and only take out the meat for a braai just before cooking it.
4. Damage to your eyes
This is something we don’t even realise is happening. When you spend time outdoors or driving, then you need to make sure you own and wear a pair of sunglasses to help filter the UV light.
Did you know that if you do not have glasses that protect your eyes from UV rays, then wearing any old pair of glasses will actually open up your pupils as your eyes try to let more light in as the glasses make it darker, and this lets in more UV rays?
Meaning that cheap glasses that do not filter UV rays are actually really bad for your eyes and cause more sun damage than not wearing glasses at all.
You need to wear glasses that filter out 100% of UV rays and wear them whenever you are outside (especially when you are near water as water reflects the sun’s rays and makes them harsher).
5. Accidents on the roads
Summertime comes with more rain which often means more potholes, more parties, more drivers who think they can drive after a few beers at a braai and more risks on the road. You can avoid summer accidents and prevent expensive repair costs by:
- Getting comprehensive car insurance to save you from surprise costs
- Avoiding driving in the early hours of the morning and late at night
- Never drinking and driving
- Slowing down when you see a pothole
This is a scary thought and one that we never want to have to think about, but drowning is a reality in South Africa. According to statistics, “in the five years between 2011 and 2015, there was an average of 1541 drownings a year.”
You can prevent potential drownings by teaching children how to swim, abiding by the rules of proper pool safety and not swimming too far out when in the ocean (the currents can be incredibly strong and make it hard to swim back to the safety of the shore).
As the weather gets hotter we need to ensure we are drinking more water, especially when spending more time outdoors and exercising.
Dehydration occurs quickly so make sure your kids are properly hydrated and so are you!
So, how much water do we need? Healthline suggests that the average adult needs about 2 litres a day.
8. Bug bites
From mozzies to ticks, bug bites are a common occurrence in summer. Make sure you stay clear of any malaria areas if you can. If you are visiting a malaria area in the holidays, ensure you take the proper steps to prevent infection. Have a look at this article on malaria areas and prevention in South Africa.
9. Injury from fireworks
Fireworks can cause damage to your property, your body, and your pets (read how to protect your pets from fireworks here). It’s important to leave fireworks to professionals and follows special precautions for firework safety.
Yours in hassle-free health insurance,