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Health and Wellness: Health risks to look out for during the summer

By Lindsey Certonio - Special to the Daily Herald | Jul 6, 2022

Courtesy photo

Staying safe outside can help you avoid common situations that can keep you from having fun in the sun.

Summer is a time for experiencing new adventures with your family and friends. While you are exploring and finding new hobbies during the summer break, you still need to stay healthy. With July having 11% more preventable deaths than the average month, it is important to stay on top of your health.

The four main summer health risks that you should keep a look out for are heatstroke, sun poisoning, bug bites and food poisoning. Let’s discuss some early symptoms to look out for and how you can prevent these health risks from happening.


Heatstroke is a serious illness that can raise body temperatures up to 106°F or higher within minutes. This may cause brain damage and organ failure. If you are in direct heat for a long period of time, look out for these early symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Excessive amount of sweating
  • Changed behavior
  • Slight fever
  • Pale skin

If you start to experience any of these symptoms, immediately find a cool place to sit down. You can drink cold water or put a cold, wet towel on to cool down quicker. While you can get your body temperature under control, if you do start to feel early symptoms, you should try to stay out of the sun for long periods of time, drink a lot of fluids and wear cooling clothing to prevent heatstroke.

Sun poisoning

You can think of sun poisoning as a serious sunburn. Sun poisoning comes about by spending extended periods of time in direct UV rays. It can cause swelling, blisters and a fever. Beware of these symptoms if you are outside during the summer:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Itchiness

While sun poison isn’t usually life-threatening, it can lead to serious illnesses later down the road, such as skin cancer. To help reduce your chances of getting sun poisoning, make sure to wear sunscreen that has high SPF, wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts and treat prior sunburns before going back into direct UV rays.

Bug bites

Just like everyone else, bugs like to be out during the hot summer months. The common mosquito might not pose a threat, but you should keep an eye out for other types of bugs. The Healthy has a list of common bugs that can cause serious health risks:

  • Black widow spider
  • Tarantulas
  • Africanized bees
  • Mosquitoes (Culex mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito and the Yellow Fever mosquito)
  • Red fire ants
  • Wasps

If you get bitten by one of these bugs, you may experience an allergic reaction, swelling, hives and nausea. Some bites may be poisonous, so if you are experiencing an extreme reaction, contact your doctor immediately.

To keep the bugs away while you are playing and exploring nature, apply bug repellent, wear protective clothing and stay away from water that is known to be infested with bugs. By following these simple precautions, you might just save yourself an ER visit.

Food poisoning

Warm weather means picnics in the park with your friends and family. While food poisoning is more prevalent in the summer, here are a few tips on how to stay away from foodborne illnesses. Bacteria is more likely to grow on food during warmer temperatures. Early symptoms of food poisoning can include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

If you experience any of these for longer than three days, you should contact your doctor. There are several foods that you can consume that can help aid you while you are sick. Some recommended foods include coconut water, ginger and bananas. You can prevent food poisoning by refrigerating food, keeping food covered and thoroughly cooking meat.

Summer is arguably the best time of the year. While you are enjoying the warm summer days, make sure to drink plenty of water, don’t stay in the sun for long periods of time, wear sunscreen and bug repellent and keep your food at optimal temperatures. Remember, if you start to feel ill, alert your friends and contact your doctor.

Lindsey Certonio is a project manager at Stage Marketing, a full-service content marketing agency based in Provo.


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