The Good Doctor says play it safe when spending time in the summer sun
Our sun is not a friendly object during the summer. It gives us trouble on our outside and inside.
In the winter months, the sun lets us know it is cold so we go inside to get warm or add a thicker jacket and hat. In the summer, we find out that the heat and dry air are causing problems but by the time we find out, the damage has already been done.
The sun is gigantic. A million Earths could fit inside it and, surprisingly, Earth is closer to the sun in winter than in summer.
However, the sun causes most of its mischief during our hottest season. It makes us rush to eat food at picnics before it infects us; the dangerous sun encourages us to put on sunscreen and avoid those harmful ultraviolet rays, and dryness of the mouth warns us to drink enough fluids before our body temperature brings us near death.
Sunscreen agents should be applied 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapplied every two hours. Infants under age 6 months should not be in the sun at the beach or pool.
Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of ultraviolet rays get through the clouds and can cause a burn and probably a deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma. Too often, a parent gets busy at the beach or pool and assumes one application of sunscreen will protect the child all day.
In the summer,when it’s hot, heatrelated illnesses are common. These can happen even when doing little physical activity. Between 1999 and 2003, more than 3,000 deaths occurred in the United States from exposure to extreme heat. The problems occur from an inability to sweat or low salt levels.
The most dangerous is heat stroke which shows symptoms of dizziness, light-headedness and fainting. In heat stroke the body temperature rises above 104 degrees. This is a medical emergency requiring a call for an ambulance.
In heat exhaustion, the person may have clammy skin, excessive sweating and too much loss of water and sweat. People get heat cramps when their salt level is low. This causes muscle spasms of the arms, legs or abdomen. The muscle cramps can affect the heart.
High temperatures and humidity interfere with the person’s ability to sweat. Any of these problems can affect older adults, young children and people with chronic medical diseases.
ko one with a heat and humidity problem should drink alcohol or swallow medicine containing caffeine. It’s always best to get professional help by calling for medical advice.
People who go to a picnic or camping should practice food safety. Plan to wash hands with running water or a hand sanitizer. Always wash fruits and vegetables before preparing them. Fish and eggs should be eaten as soon as possible. Take a meat thermometer with you to be sure meat is heated to 160 degrees and poultry to 165 degrees. Wash the meat thermometer and insert it into different parts of a meat patty you might be serving.
The list of dangerous bacteria is long. Many of the causative bacteria can result in serious illnesses and even death, so don’t just eat at a picnic unless the cook knows how to prepare foods.
Campylobacter may result in bloody diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain and averages 76 deaths a year. Salmonella illness often occurs from eating undercooked eggs or poultry. E. coli has been the source of 25,000 cases a year of infections.,Listeria 1,600.
Summer should be a fun season. Have respect for the sun.