Summer is Time for Fun and Health

Summer is a great time to build up your fitness program, enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, take a vacation, and have fun. It’s also a time to pay attention to your health and safety. Below are tips to help you stay safe and healthy this summer and all year long.

Keep your cool in the sun. Sun protection is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Take steps to help prevent skin cancer and other conditions. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people succumb to extreme heat each year.

Take steps to lower your risk for heat-related illness. When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun’s rays are strongest, and cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect exposed skin. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Unfortunately, warmer temperatures aren’t just attractive to people, but to mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, too.

Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and other viruses, ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other serious infections, and fleas can transmit plague. To lower your risk for West Nile virus, avoid mosquito bites when you spend time outside working or playing.

The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.

Whether you plan to grill on the patio or picnic in the park, be sure to eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have important vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which may help protect you from some chronic diseases.

Foodborne disease is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States. Most of these cases are mild and cause symptoms for a day or two, but some cases are more serious and require hospitalization.

Summer is a great time to play outdoor games, garden, or go for a walk. Start a new routine that combines fun and physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or to have high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease and stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death. Adults should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most (preferably all) days of the week.

Don’t forget to take steps to prepare yourself and your family for severe weather and natural disasters before they happen. If a natural or man-made disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, and electricity for a while.

By taking steps now to store emergency food and water supplies, along with a disaster supplies kit, you can reduce the effect of any such disaster on your family.

This article is made possible with Older Americans Act dollars from the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. The Area Agencies provide a free information and assistance service called the Senior LinkAge Line that assists older adults and their caregivers with a variety of options for living independently. Call the Senior LinkAge LineÆ at 800-333-2433 to speak with an information specialist, or check out our website at MinnesotaHelp.info.

 

Karin Haugrud is a Senior LinkAge Line Specialist with Land of the Dancing Sky – West Central in Fergus Falls.

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