Summer is finally here!
If you are like most students, you are already beginning to plan your events and activities for the summer. Maybe it's a dip in the pool once a week, hitting the trails more often, joining an outdoor sports league, or just enjoying more time outdoors in general.
Regardless of how you choose to spend the summer, be sure to keep your health and safety in mind. The University Health Center shares some simple tips:
Prevent exposure to heat
Check the heat advisory before heading out. During extreme temperatures, limit your time outdoors. If you are outdoors and you begin to feel overheated or experience excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, headache, or nausea, move to a cool area immediately. Drink small sips of cold water and run a fan or air conditioner in the area. If you notice signs of heat stroke, call 911.
Protect your skin
Everyone, regardless of skin color, is at risk of sun exposure and skin cancer. Stay safe by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher anytime you plan to be outdoors for more than 5-10 minutes. Make sure to apply it to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ankles, etc. Reapply frequently.
Avoid Insect Bites
Whenever you go outdoors, apply insect repellent with 20% to 30% DEET. Spray it on all exposed skin and clothing. Always apply after sunscreen dries. If you plan to walk at night or in a heavily wooded area, wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible and wear closed-toe shoes instead of sandals.
For painful bites, such as a bee sting, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For itchy bites, apply an ice pack and an over-the-counter anti-itch cream like hydrocortisone. These items are available through the University Health Center Pharmacy at discounted rates.
Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. Drink water throughout the day. Make it the first thing you do when you wake up and one of the last things you do before starting your nightly routine. Try to drink at least two-thirds of your body weight in ounces every day.
Alcohol and caffeine can quickly dehydrate you on a hot day. Limit these drinks and choose water where you can. If the water is too soft for you, consider adding cucumbers, lemon, or fruit to your water for a different natural flavor.
Ride your bike and skate safely
Before heading out, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment, including: a well-fitting helmet, wrist, knee and elbow pads, and closed shoes. Choose a safe place to ride like a skate park or trail. Never drive on the street or in wet weather. If you are going out at night, wear reflective clothing. When skating, make sure your hands do not touch the board; Accidentally rolling onto your hands can cause serious injury.
Don't swim alone. Always have at least one friend with you. Avoid drinking alcohol before and during water activities, as studies show that alcohol is a major factor in most deaths related to water recreation.
Treat minor cuts and scrapes
Wash your hands with soap and water and then wash the wound to prevent infection. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment to the cut, and then cover it with a sterile bandage. If the cut is inflamed or painful, take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Bonus Tip: Since the weather is more pleasant, be aware of your surroundings when going outside. Put down your cell phone, skip the headphones, and stay alert while walking.
Remember, if you get sick or injured this summer, the University Health Center is here to help. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. at 5 p.m. for in-person care and telehealth. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment or visit our website for more information.