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Summertime is time for sun, swimming and sports. Here are some tips from John Marcucci, M.D., medical director of emergency medicine at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano on how to safely enjoy the season.
Beat the heat. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can strike when you’re exerting yourself in the hot weather. Drink plenty of water, watch for heat alerts, try to exercise in the early morning, and keep a close eye on children and seniors, who can overheat quickly. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that needs expert attention right away.
Block those rays. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and limit your exposure to the sun when it’s at its strongest—between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember that you may need sunscreen underneath summer-weight, light-colored clothing.
Block those rays, Part 2. Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Choose sunglasses that are labeled for UV protection—sunglasses that don’t protect against UV rays may actually cause more harm than not wearing sunglasses at all.
Banish bugs. While bugs can spread disease, it’s the nuisance and itch that’s more likely to be a problem. Sprays can keep them away. There’s no need to visit the emergency room if a mosquito bites you, unless you develop a fever or a change in behavior or mental status.
Banish bugs, Part 2. Eating outdoors is a summertime treat, but make sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you can’t chill leftovers properly it’s better to throw them away. And wash your hands before preparing food to cut down on the number of germs that could multiply.
Lock out the little ones. Make sure there’s no way for children to get into a pool area without an adult’s help. And never leave kids unattended by the pool.
Not sure if your summertime symptom is a true emergency? Call your primary care physician. He or she can tell you whether you can treat something on your own, wait it out, come into the office or head to the emergency room. Of course, if you’re faced with a true emergency don’t hesitate to call 911.
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