Summer is here! The weather is gorgeous here in Northern New Mexico during the summer and there are so many fun things to do outdoors. From events to attend, mountains to hike, lakes to swim in and sports to play, there is nothing worse than coming down with a summer illness and missing so many fun adventures.
Check out these top five summer illnesses that you can prevent by educating your family this summer.
Dehydration is a serious concern when living in a high desert environment like Santa Fe. With temperatures ever increasing each year, summers in New Mexico have gotten hotter and hotter. Signs & symptoms of dehydration include: increased thirst, fatigue, confusion or anger, headache or disorientation, muscle cramps, dark urine, lack of sweat and muscle cramps. The most important thing to remember about dehydration is that your body may already be dehydrated and you won’t even know it. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. After your thirst is quenched, you should be drinking 10% more water on top of that to rehydrate your body. A quick way to hydrate is by adding lemon juice to water and a large pinch of salt. This will allow for a quick assimilation of electrolytes to your body. As a preventative, the National Academy of Sciences recommends 2.7 liters of water a day (about 11.4 cups) for women, and for men, 3.7 liters (15 cups) to meet your daily hydration needs.
2. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a serious concern for states like New Mexico that experience high temperatures each summer. Heat stroke can actually kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs if not addressed in time. Heat stroke can occur from prolonged exposure to high temperatures, usually combined with dehydration which leads to the body being unable to control it’s own temperature. Heat stroke technically happens when the body’s temperature becomes greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit with complications that involve the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other heat stroke symptoms include nausea, increased sweating, seizures, confusion and disorientation. The best way to avoid heat stroke is to consistently hydrate if you are going to be exposed to the sun or high temperatures. Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol intake as they cause dehydration. Drink plenty of electrolytes and wear light colored clothes that don’t absorb the sun’s heat. Protect yourself with a hat or umbrella and plan outdoor activities around the coolest parts of the day usually before 10am and after 4pm.
3. Skin Rashes
Summer vacation means more adventures outside, especially for kids. Often children and adults may not be aware of the dangers of developing skin rashes outside from causes like poison ivy, swimming or even due to bad hygiene. If you are going to be out in nature this summer, it’s important to educate your family on the various plant life that can cause a skin rash. A quick Google search can provide photos to help identify poison ivy before you go on that hike in the forest. Swimmer’s itch can occur if you swim in a natural body of water. Natural lakes can become contaminated with parasites often from bird droppings so avoid stagnant waters after a hot spell. Rinse off immediately after a swim to prevent a swimmer’s rash.
4. Bug Bites
More exposure to the outdoors this summer means more exposure to insects. Mosquitos are often attracted to exposed areas of skin that are moist and wet. And bees are most active during the hottest hours of the day. Most bees don’t sting people unless aggravated but as a preventative, keep your skin covered and avoid bright clothing and more importantly avoid fragrances. For mosquitos, the best way to avoid transmitted diseases like Zika virus or even just your run of the mill mosquito bites is to wear insect repellent. If you use an effective repellant that contains DEET, only apply once a day to avoid accumulated toxins from entering the skin. Other alternative remedies for insect repellant include using citronella, cinnamon or lemon eucalyptus essential oils.
5. Colds & Flu
Catching the flu is just as common in the summer as it is in the winter. Initial symptoms are sore throat, cough, chills, feeling feverish, runny nose and body aches. Summer colds & flu often are a different virus strain than a winter flu. So just because you got sick last winter doesn’t mean you are safe from a summer cold. The best way to prevent catching a summer virus is to wash your hands consistently, stay hydrated, take Vitamin C and exercise daily to boost your immune system.
If you‘ve already contracted one of these summer illnesses, Railyard Urgent Care can help. We are experienced in providing fast and effective treatment for colds/flu, sports injuries, dehydration, insect bites & elevation sickness in Santa Fe.