10 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Summer

Summer Healthy & Safety Tips for the Entire Family

Summertime is upon us, which means warmer weather, longer days, and more opportunities to get outside and enjoy all that nature offers. But summertime also comes with its own set of challenges. To help you make the most of your summer while staying safe and healthy, here are ten tips:

1. Keep food safety in mind when grilling out or picnicking.

Summertime is the peak season for foodborne illnesses. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid getting sick from the food you eat.

When preparing food this summer under hotter temperatures, use these tips:

  • Never leave perishable food out in the sun or heat for more than two hours.
  • Pack your food in an insulated cooler with ice packs.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables.
  • Be sure to wash your cutlery thoroughly in between uses.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after handling raw meat.
  • Cook meat to the correct temperature.
  • Avoid summertime power outages by storing perishable food in a cooler.
  • Clean the grill grates with soapy water before cooking.

2. Be careful with fireworks.

Fireworks are a staple of summertime celebrations, but they can also be very dangerous. Each year, thousands of people are injured by fireworks.

While summer is a time for relaxation and fun, it's also important to be aware of safety hazards. Here are some tips to stay safe this summer:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Older children should only use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  • Be sure to have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Keep fireworks away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Pets should be kept indoors during fireworks displays.

3. Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.

It’s important to stay hydrated during summer, especially if you’re spending time outdoors in the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, such as water or unsweetened iced tea. And if you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, take along a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes.

Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion

Spending too much time in the heat can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heatstroke. Be sure to know the signs of these conditions, so you can seek medical help if necessary:

  • Signs of heat exhaustion: include heavy sweating, dizziness, and lightheadedness. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a medical emergency.
  • Signs of heat stroke: include a high body temperature, confusion, and unconsciousness.

If you or someone you’re with shows signs of heatstroke, call 911 immediately.

4. Take advantage of summer fruits and vegetables.

In-season produce is not only delicious but also more affordable. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet helps support your health and boost your immune system. Visit your local farmer's market or pick your own fruit to get the best deal! Here are some great choices to try:

  • Watermelon.
  • Corn on the cob.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Berries.
  • Peaches.
  • Plums.
  • Cherries.
  • Nectarines.
  • Figs.

5. Get moving!

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends. Go for a hike, ride your bikes, play tag, and have fun! The amount of exercise you need depends on your age and health.

For example, older adults may need to do more than younger adults to maintain the same fitness level. And people who have chronic health conditions or are at risk for them may need to modify their exercise plans.

Here are some general guidelines from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

  • Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week.
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week.
  • Kids and teens should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity every day.

In addition to aerobic activity, adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities, like lifting weights or doing push-ups and sit-ups, at least 2 days a week. And kids and teens should do muscle- and bone-strengthening activities, like running and playing tag, at least 3 days a week.

6. Keep your skin protected from the sun.

Too much sun exposure can lead to skin damage, so be sure to protect yourself when you’re spending time outdoors. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply it every two hours. Also, be sure to wear hats, and sunglasses when outdoors. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible.

7. Be aware of summer hazards.

Several things can pose a danger during summertime, from outdoor activities to swimming safety. Educate yourself on what to watch out for and how to avoid them. The key to preventing many common summer safety hazards is educating your children on tips to keep them safe, such as avoiding swimming alone and staying on marked paths when biking or hiking.

8. Don’t let bugs ruin your summer fun.

Summertime means spending more time outdoors, which also means dealing with bugs. To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and other pests, use insect repellent. And if you're using a spray, be sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area.

Most bug bites are harmless and will go away on their own. However, some bug bites can cause serious health problems. It’s important to know when to see a doctor for a bug bite.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:

  • Severe pain.
  • Severe swelling.
  • Redness spreads from the bite.
  • Pus or drainage from the bite.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Body aches.

If you are allergic to bug bites, you should see a doctor if you have any reaction to a bug bite, even if it’s mild.

9. Avoid getting sick.

With the kids at home, you may be taking a vacation — and this can leave you vulnerable to contracting the flu, COVID-19, or another condition. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but it's important to take steps to avoid getting sick. And, no one wants to spend a summer day sick inside.

Washing your hands often, staying hydrated, and wearing sunscreen are all important. Checking for ticks is also vital, especially if you're spending time in wooded areas.

10. Manage your health.

School may be out for summer — but that doesn't mean you don't need to keep up with your health. It can be easy to avoid appointments and instead lounge outside or go on vacation, but it's essential to see your doctor regularly.

If you're due for a check-up, schedule one on time. In addition, you may want to check on your elderly neighbors or loved ones. Summer can be difficult for those who are elderly or have chronic health conditions, as the heat can aggravate their symptoms. Visit them or give them a call to ensure they're doing alright.

Primary Care in Ridgecrest, California

Following these tips will help you have a happy and healthy summer! At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, our team of highly trained and experienced family physicians is dedicated to providing services to patients of all ages in Ridgecrest and surrounding areas. To learn more about our primary care services or schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-4:30 PM).