1) Buy new sun block.
Find and throw out all of your sun block from last year. Even if you had to buy new sun block on your last trip to the lake in September, toss it! Sun blocker has a limited effective shelf life and the last thing you want to do is risk your family’s health over a few bucks of lotion. UVA and UVB rays are proving to be more toxic every year. Last year, 250,000 Americans were diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. It is known as being a common cancers affecting Arizonans, Californians and Floridians.
a. Rules to follow: Buy two different kinds of sun block: one for the face that is oil free and one that is waterproof and sweat proof.
b. Only get lotions with and SPF greater than 30 that block both UVA and UVB rays.
c. Apply under the active wear for best coverage before going out.
d. Apply at the minimum 15 minutes before going into the sun. It takes that long for the protection to reach all the important layers of skin.
e. Apply liberally
f. Apply frequently – think of the SPF as a timer in minutes for when you need to reapply.
2) Get conditioned for summer activities.
If you and your family have not been real active during the cooler seasons, your body may need some time to adjust to the strains of your summer activities. Jet skiing and water skiing are much different than snow skiing. The demands on your body are totally different. If your children are playing organized sports like soccer and baseball, make sure they get a physical before going out in the heat. It is also a recommendation to begin training several weeks before the organized team starts working out. Early routines of stretching, cardio exercises and resistance training create a process where the body can ramp up the amount of stress it can withstand. Most sports injuries can be prevented by proper conditioning in advance of performance. In areas where there is extreme heat, conditioning is much more important.
Summer doesn’t last long. Create a plan for all of the activities you want to do. Take time to put them all on a calendar so that team schedules, vacations and family gatherings can all be considered and you still get to have all of your fun. Don’t forget to put some specific conditioning on the plan for the strenuous activities you’re going to enjoy. There is no need to be sore for a week or get injured just because you did something you were really looking forward to. Be prepared to overdo it and have the conditioning to overdo it more.
3) Increase the amount of water you drink.
I call this creating the hydration habit. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia that is brought on in part by lack of liquids. More importantly, it is a condition where the core body temperature rises above 102 degrees without breaking a sweat. During the cooler months, we tend to slack off on the amount of water we drink and we leave our water bottle holders behind.
It’s true that our bodies aren’t requiring as much water when we aren’t sweating in the winter months. However, the amount of water we need for healthy living is still greater than what we are consuming.
We actually fall out of the habit of drinking water when our bodies aren’t screaming for it. Heat stroke can be a real danger when weather gets hot suddenly as a result. It’s a good idea to always carry a water bottle to stay hydrated and keep your neck cool to avoid heat stroke.
The importance of drinking a bottle a day
To prepare for summer, try to remember to drink at least one more bottle of water a day through Spring. Serve water at dinner time rather than tea or soft drinks. Tea, caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages, no matter how tasty, dehydrate the body.
Sports drinks help maintain electrolytes in the blood and are good during strenuous activity in the heat. They are too high in calories and fructose to be consumed in place of water the rest of the time. Only water hydrates the body efficiently and flushes out all the toxins.
Only elevated hydration, the amount of water in your system on an average basis, can sustain endurance in extreme heat. When the weather gets really hot, take cold water in a water bottle carrier everywhere you go. Find water bottle holders that make it easy to carry a bottle of water along on your activities as well. The SWIH neck cooler is a product we recommend since it is a water bottle carrier and uses a frozen water bottle at the base of your neck to keep your neck cool.
For Spring re-create the hydration habit for yourself and your family.
4) Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Yes, Doctors always recommend eating a healthy diet. But wait; there is a reason why you should increase your consumption of fresh produce in preparation for the summer heat and activities. Uncooked produce is very high in oxygen and in water. The more oxygen and water we introduce into our system at the cellular level, the more efficient our body works under stress.
What Vegetables Should you eat?
Tomatoes and melons, plums and pears, leafy veggies all carry incredible nutritional value as well. It’s no secret that the strongest and largest animals on the planet are vegetarian. The elephant and the gorilla are the strongest animals and both live in extremely hot climates. The absorption of oxygen and water from their food source is one of the main reasons. Increase your daily consumption of fresh produce now and when summertime comes; your body will be stronger and more durable in the heat.
5) Prepare for mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitoes and the last thing you want is for your family or friends to get sick from being bitten when the prevention is so easy. If you have patio doors or windows that you leave open during the summer months you need to inspect the screens.
Mosquitoes will find their way through the tiniest gaps and breeches in screens. Inspect the screens and screen doors for tears and holes.Always remember if you have small children and pets, the bottom of screen doors can get little tears from sharp claws, paws and toys.
Make sure to replace screens that are bent or don’t fit the window correctly. For patio areas get citronella candles that can be placed around the perimeter to create a barrier against bugs. It doesn’t kill them, but it irritates them enough to keep them at bay.
Be careful of hidden mosquito breeding grounds. Any standing water will become a mosquito breeding ground. Be careful of rain water left standing in trash cans, buckets, bird baths, planters, tire swings or anything else that can hold water. Change the dog’s water frequently too; the bowl if left long enough will breed mosquitoes. The same holds true for plastic pools and still ponds. As long as the water has some way of being filtered or circulated there is minimal chance of mosquitoes.
The importance of bug spray
Lastly toss out all of your bug spray from last year. Just like with the sun block, the active ingredients in bug spray diminish in their effectiveness over time. Additionally, bug spray manufacturers are constantly changing their formulas to meet new threats from evolving insects and new insect-based diseases.
You have a number of things to look for in a bug repellent. The Center for Disease Control recommends several active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Look for DEET concentration higher than 6% for the longest lasting effectiveness.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus works just as effectively as and is a natural oil. Mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies find their victims by sensing the chemicals in their body and by the air they breathe out. These active ingredients actually block the insect’s ability to detect their prey.
The summer offers the perfect weather for almost every outdoor sport (except maybe ice fishing). No matter what you and your family enjoy, a little preparation will create lasting memories. Follow these little tips and keep healthy. Remember to drink plenty of water starting now! Its gonna be hot.