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Summer Health Hazards

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02.08.2021

Summer Health Hazards

The way we care for our overall physical wellbeing needs to be adapted to the season. The change of seasons requires changes in health care, knowledge of potential dangers, and adjustment of the dose of some medicines for chronic conditions.

Summer health hazards in urban environment

During the summer, high temperatures in cities create conditions for exacerbation of cardiovascular diseases, heat stroke, dehydration, low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure

The drop in blood pressure causes a number of unpleasant symptoms – vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and risk of fainting. The danger of sudden loss of consciousness in the city is serious, as there is a risk of serious injury during the fall, as well as the risk of this happening on the road and endangering the life of the patient. Patients with chronic diseases taking medicines to control high blood pressure need a dose adjustment in the summer to avoid the risk.

Heat stroke

Elderly people, children, and people suffering from cardiovascular diseases or obesity are most at risk of heat stroke. The danger of heat stroke is biggest when working in a hot and humid environment, doing hard physical work, drinking alcohol. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. If no measures are taken, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, elevated body temperatures to above physiological values occur. There is a real danger for breathing and heart activity to stop, which requires cardiac massage and artificial respiration.

To prevent heat stroke, it is recommended to work in air-conditioned rooms, wear cooling clothing made from fabrics that allow airflow, avoid heat in the hottest part of the day, drink adequate amounts of fluids. In case of symptoms, cold compresses are applied to the head, chest, abdomen, and the patient is provided with a cool room and cold sweetened drinks if the condition is not severe and does not require immediate emergency care or resuscitation.

Dehydration

Dehydration is caused by insufficient fluid intake during the summer when increased sweating and high temperatures are factored in. Severe dehydration leads to hypernatremia and poses a danger to the patient’s life. The first signs of dehydration include dry mouth, dizziness, rapid breathing, loss of orientation, low blood pressure. For prevention, it is recommended to increase fluid intake during the summer in accordance with the working environment – hard physical work outdoors in the city requires a serious increase in the amount of fluid intake.

Health hazards during a beach holiday

Proper healthcare is necessary if we want to keep only good memories from our summer holiday.

Sunburn

Sunburn is painful and dangerous to health, as it poses a risk of developing the most serious form of skin cancer – melanoma. Prevention includes using a high-factor sunscreen, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight from 12 pm to 16pm, as well as regular preventive examinations by a dermatologist in order to detect skin changes early. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice a modified or a new mole that bleeds or is large in diameter, growing, asymmetrical, or uneven.

Sunstroke

Sunstroke is a serious condition caused by excessive sun exposure. Children, people over the age of 65, and those suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory diseases or high blood pressure are most at risk. The symptoms are dry and hot skin, vertigo, palpitations, rapid breathing. If adequate measures are not taken to treat the condition, the patient may lose consciousness.

Marine flora and fauna

Be careful with marine life. Some species are venomous, while others cause pain, burning, redness, or more severe symptoms.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning in summer is most often bacterial and is associated with the consumption of contaminated food, meals that have been left out in the sun or at high temperature, as well as seafood. The most common food poisonings in the summertime are caused by Escherichia coli and salmonella. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Medical attention is needed to control the condition and to prevent dehydration if there are severe symptoms in children and chronically ill people.

Summer health hazards in the mountains

Ticks and Lyme disease

The biggest health hazard in parks, mountain areas, and lawns are ticks, as a significant part of them could be disease vectors. Lyme disease is hard to diagnose and recognize, and may go undetected for a long period of time which leads to serious health damages. In order to prevent Lyme disease, when bitten by a tick, do not attempt to remove it yourself; seek medical assistance instead. It’s also necessary to monitor for manifestation of Lyme disease symptoms.

Insect bites/stings

People who are allergic to certain types of insects should be extra careful in nature during summertime. Mild allergic reactions include swelling, redness, pain, rash, but are not life-threatening. Severe allergic reactions, which develop seconds to minutes after a sting or bite, can be fatal if emergency medical attention is not sought and treatment is not administered immediately. They cause multiorgan involvement or anaphylactic shock with inability to breathe, changes in consciousness, coma. Allergic patients who are unable to avoid the allergen can consult their allergist about desensitization – overcoming the allergy.

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