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Hot Tips for a Safe and Healthy Summer

From water safety to staying hydrated, our doctors have tips to keep the fun in summer

The long, warm days just seem to invite kicking back and having fun. Two Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) primary care physicians have recommendations to have a healthy summer. “Follow these tips to help you stay healthy and make the most of the sunshine season,” says family medicine physician Leah Arlequin, MD, with LVPG Family Medicine-Tobyhanna and the soon-to-open LVPG Family Medicine–Middle Smithfield.

Sun safety first

Since you’re going to be spending more time outside, take these steps to protect your skin from the sun:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Put it on again after swimming, sweating or wiping your skin with a towel.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, ears and back of your neck.

Drink plenty of water

“Be sure to drink extra fluids in hot weather to replace what you lose in sweat,” says internal medicine physician Michael Mandarano, DO, with LVPG Family Medicine–Dunmore. “This helps you avoid dehydration – a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough fluids to work properly.”

Make water your go-to beverage. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to reach for a refreshing drink. When you’re being active, aim to drink about 8 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy in-season produce

Naturally low in calories, fat and salt, fresh fruits and vegetables contain many of the nutrients your body needs to work as it should. “Plus, the extra water from these foods can help keep you hydrated,” Dr. Mandarano says. Add these versatile options to your shopping list this summer:

  • Fruits: apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, raspberries, watermelon
  • Veggies: broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, spinach

Swim smart

Up for pool parties and days at the beach or lake? Remember to supervise kids at all times. Don’t let yourself get distracted with reading, texting, grilling on the barbecue or other tasks. “And everyone in open water should wear a life jacket – even strong swimmers,” Dr. Arlequin says.

As adults, it’s just as important to be mindful of our own water safety, too:

  • Avoid alcohol when boating, swimming or using a hot tub.
  • For flotation support, use a well-fitted, Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Use caution in lakes, rivers and other natural waters. Be alert for hazards such as currents, waves, rocks and vegetation.

Avoid accidental fires

Grilling can be a great way to cook healthy food. But when you fire up the grill, be careful not to set anything else ablaze. Follow these tips:

  • Keep the grill well away from house siding, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches. Don’t leave a hot grill unattended.
  • For gas grills: Open the lid before lighting.
  • For charcoal grills: Use a charcoal chimney starter or charcoal starter fluid to get things going. Never use other flammable liquids. When you’re done, let the coals cool fully. Then put them in a metal can with a lid.
  • Clean your grill after every use. Greasy buildup could cause a fire.

For firepits, never ignite anything that isn’t firewood – for instance, garbage, stained wood, plastics, or construction or yard waste. They release toxic chemicals. If you need a starter, use newspaper, dry kindling or an all-natural fire starter.

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