Now that summer is in full swing, it is more important than ever to stay diligent when it comes to your health. The last thing you would want to happen is to be stuck inside during those gorgeous days where you could be outside soaking up the sun and chilling with your friends, so here are some common summer illnesses you should be aware of, and how to prevent them.
1. Swimmer’s Ear
This is, as the name implies, a risk for those swimmers out there! Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that starts in the eardrum, and is caused by water remaining in the ear after swimming. It can be painful, and treatment requires antibiotic medicine prescribed by a doctor.
Prevention: Make sure your ears are dry after swimming! The safest way is to use a tissue wrapped around your finger and gently dry your ear canal. Of course, you can prevent the water from entering the ear in the first place, by wearing a swim cap.
2. Food poisoning
Food poisoning is especially prevalent during the summer because of how often people eat outside — which means that food gets left outside, too. During picnics, BBQs, and parties, it’s all too easy to forget about the leftovers that are still sitting on the picnic table. When this happens, dangerous bacteria forms on the food and can wreak havoc with diners’ digestive systems.
Prevention:Be vigilant about keeping any and all food out of the sun and heat, but take particular care with dairy products or mayonnaise-based potato and pasta salads. Another good option is to leave the food indoors, where it will stay cooler in the air conditioning, and maybe have a better chance of being put back in the refrigerator. Always wash your hands before cooking or serving food.
3. Poison Ivy
Being outside more means you have a higher chance of coming into contact with poisonous plants. Touching them will result in a painful, itchy rash.
Prevention: Learn how to identify different harmful plants — so you can stay as far away from them as possible. If you’re going to be hiking through a wooded area, wear long sleeves and long pants to protect your skin from accidental contact. This has the added benefit of protecting you from ticks and mosquitoes, too.
If you contact these illnesses, then it is important to go get medical attention right away. If it is a life-threatening emergency, you will need immediate care that only an emergency room in the hospital can provide. But if the injury is not serious, consider going to a urgent care walk in clinic.
While walk in clinics cannot offer the emergency care to help you in case of a stroke or a heart attack, they do boast knowledgeable doctors and advanced medical technology equipment. Urgent care centers are also a cheaper alternative to the ER; the average insurance copay at a urgent care ranges between $35 to $55, which represents an average of $784 in savings over going to a hospital. Walk in clinics also tend to have flexible hours, with 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days a week, and past 7pm.