Healthy "U" July Newsletter
Fun, Safe, and Healthy Summer Routine
by Kelly Watson, DNP, CRNP, CNE, Assistant Professor of Nursing
With the arrival of warmer weather, many of us will find more time to spend outdoors. While there are many options for fun, safe, and healthy summer activities, the following are but a few of the most important considerations:
UV protection - We have all heard the recommendations for the use of sunscreens while spending time outside during the summer months. There are many benefits to using sunscreen including minimizing the risk for melanoma and other skin cancers and slowing the aging process of skin, including the formation of wrinkles and "age spots". General guidelines for sunscreen use include using a broad spectrum protection of 30 or higher. However, current research cannot prove that any sunscreen over 50 offers additional benefits. In addition to sunscreen products, medical experts advise limiting sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, as this is when the UV rays are the strongest and most likely to cause sunburn. Other protective measures include loose, light-colored clothing (long sleeves) and a hat to protect the face. Don’t forget protection for your lips in the form of SPF 15 or higher and the use of sunglasses to protect the eyes (UV exposure has been known to cause cataracts).
Adequate hydration - Consuming enough water during the hot summer months can seem like a no-brainer. However, many people fail to prepare for the sweat factor when planning activities. Outdoor walking, running, tennis, cycling and even swimming can significantly increase the need for water. As a general rule of thumb, 6-8 glasses (8 ounce servings) of water should be consumed daily for optimal hydration. Those requirements increase depending on exercise intensity and duration. The key factor is to drink before you feel thirsty. Once you have the thirst sensation, you are already dehydrated. It is also important to avoid caffeinated beverages, as these will increase water loss from the body.
Tick and Mosquito-borne illness - Lyme disease is endemic to Maryland. It is spread by the tiny deer tick. Many people believe if they do not have exposure to deer, they are not at risk. This could not be further from the truth. Deer ticks are carried by birds and squirrels as well, and can drop off the host animal during flight (for birds) and from trees (as is the case with squirrels). Recent increases in Zika virus exposure from mosquitoes is also a concern during summer activities. Using a bug spray that contains DEET can deter both ticks and mosquitoes from transmitting disease. Long sleeves and long pants should be worn if you are traveling in woods or high grass. In addition, physically checking your body for evidence of ticks is important. If you develop flu-like symptoms (body aches, fever, joint pain, fatigue) or a rash that resembles a bull's eye, seek medical attention.
Keeping these general guidelines in mind can increase your summer fun and contribute to a healthier you!
Attention Faculty and Staff:
If you are interested in being a part of a group that will meet monthly to explore contemplative and meditation practices for personal and professional growth, please contact Beth O'Malley.
Mindfulness Mediation and Relaxation and Yoga Classes
Look for Mindfulnness Meditation and Relaxation and free yoga classes sponsored by Sol Yoga to return in the fall.