Summer is here in all of its glory—pool days, BBQs, baseball games and, truth be told, the occasional (or frequent) afternoon spent inside with your beloved AC unit. While it feels good to kick back and cool off indoors, getting outside and enjoying the season is what it’s all about. Prepare yourself and your family with some healthy summer tips—and enjoy these hot months before winter’s back, knocking at the door.
Manage chlorine exposure. Some studies have indicated that there are risks associated with chlorine—but don’t get out of the pool just yet. One of the major issues with chlorine is that when it combines with common contaminants (hair product, sweat, makeup, lotion), it creates potentially dangerous disinfection by-products, known as DBPs. So instead of skipping the visit to the pool (and missing out on that great physical activity), limit your exposure to DBPs by showering before swimming and immediately after.
Another lesser known option—look for a salt water pool! They’re gaining some popularity in the United States. You could also find a good outdoor spot, but be sure it’s safe for swimming.
Pick some natural sunscreen alternatives. It’s important to avoid summertime risks like sunburn—but be sure to read those ingredients. The Environmental Working Group advises that you avoid oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, and skip ‘screens over SPF 50.
You could also look into zinc oxide, a safe, natural alternative to commercial sunscreens. And stock up on your greens, watermelons and tomatoes! Leafy veggies contain carotenoids, which prevent sunburn, and watermelons and tomatoes offer lycopene, which also provides natural sunburn protection.
Protect your back during yard work. Around four million Americans injury themselves working around the home or yard each year—so make sure you’re taking the right precautions to avoid injury.
Support your knees when gardening; check out some helpful cushioned pads, often found at your local garden supply store. If you’re using mechanical equipment, be sure to use that strap! Also, switch the side on which you’re operating the equipment quite often. Take a moment to stretch before heading out, too. And if you find that you’ve tweaked something, call your chiropractor right away and get ahead of the problem.
Know your bug spray options. Nothing derails a nice summer evening outdoors like a group of persistent mosquitos. Thankfully, there are some ways to keep the bugs at bay—but, unfortunately, there are some risks that come with certain bug sprays, especially those containing DEET. While the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed DEET safe for adults and kids over three months, some research has linked it to seizures and mood disorders.
Be sure you’re only using a spray with less than 30 percent DEET concentration, or try sprays with Picaridin. Even better, see if some natural choices work for you, like oil of lemon, eucalyptus, lemongrass and cinnamon. Mix 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil with two tablespoons of organic olive oil, sunflower oil or witch hazel. Dab on as needed.
Later this week we’ll be back with a few more tips, including avoiding dehydration, the best meats to buy for grilling, how to get vitamin D and some tips for healthy camping.