Colds might not be as common in summer as they are in winter, but anyone who has ever had a cold when the weather outside is warm and inviting knows just how unpleasant a runny nose, sore throat and lack of energy can be when everyone else seems to be outside soaking up the sun. Indeed, there’s no substitute for feeling fit and healthy in summer.
A healthy summer is one when individuals avoid illness and make the most of a time of year when no one wants to battle colds or other issues that affect their well-being. The following are a handful of strategies that can help people enjoy a healthy summer.
Protect your skin from the sun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher before going outside. Sunscreen should then be reapplied as necessary and especially after swimming or excessive sweating. The American Cancer Society notes that sunburn that blisters can increase risk for skin cancer, but sunburns affect short-term health as well. Studies have shown that sunburn adversely affects immune system response, which could make people more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19 or the common cold.
Limit alcohol consumption. Social schedules tend to fill up in summer, as seemingly everyone wants to host a backyard barbecue. The party vibe synonymous with summer leads to increased opportunities to drink alcohol, but excessive amounts of alcohol and summer sun are a bad combination. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, hot summer days increase fluid loss through perspiration, while alcohol contributes to fluid loss through an increased need to urinate. Significant fluid loss can lead to dehydration and heat stroke.
Eat the right foods. Summer is not typically as hectic a time of year as other seasons, particularly for parents accustomed to driving kids from one activity to another during the school year. But come summer, weekends filled with social engagements and a greater desire to be active outdoors can prove exhausting. The CDC notes that a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables supports muscles, strengthens bones and boosts immunity. That can make it easier to handle a physically active summer regimen and ensure that the immune system is in better position to fight off anything that may want to get in the way of summer fun.
Get adequate sleep. What’s better than a midday summertime nap? The answer to that is better sleep overnight. Adults should aspire to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night, which can fortify their immune system and ensure they don’t miss out on any summertime fun. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep deprivation can lead to decreased production of proteins known as cytokines, which are vital to fighting infection and inflammation.