Spring is the time of year when everything is fresh and new. Life springs back into the picture and people want to be outside in it. But be aware of some potential health pit falls that tend to occur this time of year. Take steps to help keep yourself and your loved ones out of the doctor’s office, or worse yet, the hospital.
Insect Bites and Stings
Even if you don’t have an allergy, certain insect bites and stings have the potential to get really nasty – depending on the type of insect. Certain bees, ants and spiders can be more dangerous than other insects and could warrant a visit to the doctor’s office, an urgent care or even an emergency room. Some ticks and mosquitos can pass along diseases, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile Virus and Zika Virus, to name a few.
The best way to avoid dangerous bites and stings is to take measures to prevent them. Wear long sleeves and pants, and try to tuck in any loose clothing. Don’t wear perfume, cologne, scented lotions, aftershave, or scented hair products if you’re going to be spending time outdoors. Use insect repellent as directed on the label of the product. Pay close attention to exposed skin when applying the repellant, as directed by the manufacturer. Try burning a citronella candle to help keep mosquitos at bay.
Seasonal allergies are, for the most part, unavoidable. Your personal allergens can vary greatly from the next person’s. While staying indoors is the optimal method of avoiding allergen triggers, many people take certain medications to help ease their symptoms during this season.
Pollen from plants may cause sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. During an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines, which is a chemical that our bodies releases to help rid ourselves of allergens. Many people will take an antihistamine, which works by taming the effects of the histamines. Antihistamines are available in pill, liquid, nasal spray and eye drop form. Decongestants can help give relief from sinus congestion and are also available in pill, liquid, nasal spray and eye drop form.
You can also take steps to try to avoid your allergens. Remember that pollen counts are highest in the mornings and on dry, warm, windy days. If possible, try to limit your amount of time outside during these times. Try to keep your windows in your home and car closed as much as possible during times of the year when pollen counts are high.
Over-exposure to the sun can be dangerous any time of year. But in the spring, many people might not take heed to the ever-present dangers of the sun. Cooler temperatures can entice sun-lovers to stay in the sun longer than normal, increasing the potential of a sunburn. In many cases, skin is left unprotected, opening it up to the dangers of sunburn and harmful long-term effects.
Perhaps even more dangerous is the fact that melanoma is most closely linked to intermittent skin exposure. This means that when someone’s skin has not had much time in the sun, such as in winter, the sudden exposure could cause melanoma. Melanoma is a potentially deadly type of skin cancer.
To help prevent sunburn and melanoma, wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. This type of sunscreen helps to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you will be in water, make sure to use a water proof sunscreen. Reapply as stated on the product label, especially if you are spending time in water or if you are sweating.
Wear long sleeves and pants, when possible, as well as a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunglasses to help protect the skin around your eyes. If shade is available, try to spend as much time as possible in the shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are the strongest.