Health Hazards of Summertime
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 11, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
But, did you ever stop to consider that summertime might also be filled with hidden dangers and other health hazards?
Move Over Winter Blues
Most people are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that usually inhibits a person’s daily activities during winter. This is due to the fact that there are fewer hours of daylight which can wreak havoc on a person’s bodily chemistry.
However, there a few people who actually experience a summertime version of SAD. Caused by the seemingly never ending, rays of sunlight, summertime SAD can bring about symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia and a decrease in appetite that leads to weight loss.
If you believe that you might be suffering from summertime SAD, try to use black out curtains in your home in an attempt to limit the hours of sunlight that stream inside. Most SAD sufferers feel uncomfortably warm during night, so try to keep your thermostat set on a lower temperature and remember to take a cool shower before bed to decrease your body temperature.
Since the summer daytime hours are filled with so much heat, they can spill over into the nighttime hours too. This heat can cause people to have trouble sleeping, mostly because their bedroom is hotter than normal. Try to beat the nighttime heat by turning on the air conditioner or bring a quiet fan into your bedroom. Remember to turn up the humidifier too as too much humidity can also rob you of sleep.
During the summer, some people find that their internal clocks are disrupted by the extended period of daylight hours. To counteract this, avoid sunlight from 7pm onwards and wear an eye mask to bed to prevent you from waking up too early when the early morning’s sun rays filter into your bedroom.
Taking a Dip
Everyone loves swimming in a nice, cool swimming pool during the summer months. But be forewarned! Danger could be lurking in those crystal clear waters in the form of bacteria, especially if the swimming pool has not been cleaned properly. Germs in the pool water can cause diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach.
To avoid becoming infected, never swim if you have an open cut or sore, try not to swallow the pool water and remember to rinse the pool water off your body by taking a shower when you are done swimming. Contrary to popular belief, a strong smell of chlorine in the pool water usually indicates a lack of chlorine in the water! Adequate chlorine is needed to rid the pool of harmful germs. If the water smells too much chlorine, then it is better to stay out of it.
Even during the hot summer months, people and children are still susceptible to catching colds, or worse, hypothermia. This is when a person’s body temperature drops dangerously low. Hypothermia can affect people who have been swimming in icy water, or even camping at high altitudes.
The symptoms of hypothermia can include chattering teeth, body shivers, cold skin that has a pale blue tinge to it, obvious mental confusion and poor hand coordination. Seek immediate medical help if you believe that someone is suffering from hypothermia. Remember to remove any wet clothing that they may have on and provide them with plenty of blankets to warm them up.
Say No To The Stilettos!
Every woman craves summertime, when she can finally rid her feet of those ugly, furry winter boots and instead don them with cute and dainty shoes, such as strappy sandals or stilettos. But, like everyone knows, beauty always comes with a price.
These types of women’s shoes can produce cracked and painful heels that are created by the friction of the shoe against the normally dry skin on the bottom of the feet. Sometimes, these cracked heels can bleed and even become infected.
Since no women in the right, summertime mind, will be caught wearing anything but beautiful, strappy shoes, the solution to avoiding cracked heels lies in using a pumice stone. Try to use a pumice stone every day during bath or shower time. Afterwards, or before bed, apply a generous amount of lotion to your heels. This will help keep your skin nice and soft.
Photo Credit: leozaza
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan