Five Simple Summer Health Tips

May 19, 2017
group of kids jumping into pool

Make the most of long, sunny days and sweet, star-flecked evenings by keeping your family healthy all season long. Here are five easy tips, served up by Dr. Lisa Guetzko, outpatient general pediatrician at North Memorial Health Pediatric Clinic – Maple Grove, to get you started.

Tip #1: Take Nutrition Up A Notch

When you shop, stick to the outer ring of the grocery store to make the most of whole, fresh foods—added bonus is that many of them are at their peak in the summer months!

Ditch deep-fried delights and swap steaks and burgers for chicken, turkey, and fish on the grill.

But it’s not just food—consider drinks, too. “Drinking lots and lots of water during the summer is also important to prevent dehydration, especially on hot days when people are exercising outdoors,” says Dr. Guetzko.

Tip #2: Catch Rays the Right Way

“Protecting our skin from the sun is the single most important and effective way that we can help prevent skin cancer and premature aging,” Dr. Guetzko says. Always put on sunscreen before going outside, and avoid prolonged exposure during the most intense hours (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on all your family members older than 6 months. Cover small infants with cool, breathable clothing.

Tip #3: Get Your Gear On

Summer is spectacular for adding exercise into your day. Do something fun and enjoyable so exercise does not have to feel like work,” Guetzko says. “Whether you are biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, riding motorcycles, or exploring the woods in all-terrain vehicles, we recommend everyone use a helmet on all devices with wheels,” Dr. Guetzko says. “Plus, use sport-appropriate pads and a mouth guard.” Fencing around trampolines also mitigates many trampoline injuries.

Tip #4: Don’t Get Bugged

Bottom line: Use bug spray on people over 6 months of age. Creepy crawlies carry a variety of diseases, including Lyme, West Nile, and Zika. Protect babies with netting, screens and protective clothing. Kids from 6 months to 18 years can use sprays or creams with little to no DEET. And make tick checks regular: Every 24 hours, enforce a head-to-toe check to head off Lyme threats. “It takes 24 hours or greater for Lyme disease to be transferred from the tick to the human. So, if ticks are removed immediately, the risk of Lyme disease is very low,” Dr. Guetzko says.

Tip #5: Stay Safe in and Around Water

Drowning is a silent death, and it can happen in a matter of seconds, Dr. Guetzko warns. Prevent drowning or injury from multiple approaches: Fence pools in and keep small children away from open water. Wear life jackets. Stay off smartphones while supervising smaller swimmers. Know your CPR.

For general questions and advice, call North Memorial Health’s 24-hour answering service at 763-581-5900. For emergencies, always call 911.

Check out the full Spring Issue of Maple Grove Hospital Magazine.

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