If there is one thing Chicagoans love, it’s summer! And quite frankly, we deserve a few months of blissfully warm weather after tolerating the brutally cold winter in the windy city. But before you beeline for the lakefront to bask in the sun, it’s a good idea to brush up on tips for sun safety.
Here are six simple summer health tips to keep in mind during these hot months:
- Pack a “Cool Kit” – If you are planning to be outdoors for a long period of time, pack a “cool kit” to keep your family safe and offer relief from the warm sun. Contents will vary based on your activity, but for example, a day at the beach might include visors/baseball cap, a sun umbrella, squirt bottles, and most importantly, plenty of water to drink.
- Dress Appropriately – Choose clothing that is made of cotton, comfortable and cool on hot summer days. Also, be sure to pack a cover up, sunglasses and a hat.
- Wear Sunscreen – This may seem obvious, but every year I see patients who skipped the sunscreen and wound up with a serious 1st degree and even the dreaded, blistering 2nd degree burn. While sunscreen is among the first things you pack when heading to the beach or pool, many underestimate the importance of sunscreen for outdoor activities where sun exposure is less deliberate. For example, shopping on Michigan Avenue or dining al fresco with a friend. Even limited sun exposure can lead to an unwanted burn and be harmful to your skin, so your best is to apply sunscreen before leaving home each morning. This way you’ll be ready for the day.
- Limit Exposure – While it may be tempting to spend all day outdoors, it’s important to limit exposure to the sun’s most intense rays. Avoid outdoor activities when the sun is strongest, typically between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to protect your skin.
- Stay Hydrated – A good rule of thumb is to drink two glasses of water each hour to keep your body hydrated and make up for the water that is lost through perspiration. And if you are drinking some beers or wine coolers, you need even more water!
- Take Breaks – If you are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, be sure to take breaks and if possible, enter air conditioning where your body can cool down quickly from time to time. Too much sun and heat exposure can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which is a serious medical condition and requires immediate attention.
If you follow these tips, you should be well-prepared for a day of fun in the sun. Enjoy Chicago because it’ll be blustery and cold again before we know it!
Just know that if you need medical attention, we can give you all your urgent care needs and then some! We have IV fluids, x-rays, crutches, foot boots (for sprains and fractures), labs, and even a pharmacy!
Have a great summer!