How to Keep Your Health in Check This Summer
Dr. Ali Razzak – Family Medicine Consultant and Cosmetic Injectables Expert at Aesthetics by King’s College Hospital Dubai shares his top tips for the sunny months…
Summer is here, and as most of us have experienced and know very well, the heat can be daunting. Also, most people tend to travel extensively to different parts of the world. While you’re enjoying these hot months, it is important to remember that the season comes with its own unique health challenges. So, it is imperative as an individual, a family or community that we look after ourselves during this time. Below I have shared how you can stay healthy this summer regardless if you’re traveling of kicking around in the region.
Don’t forget your vaccinations if you’re traveling
Living in the region means traveling a lot, especially during the summer holidays. If you’re traveling to somewhere exotic that may require travel vaccinations, it is important that you make an appointment with your family medicine doctor in good time prior to traveling; which should be at least 6 weeks before your date of departure. During your appointment, your doctor will ascertain the type of vaccines you need for the countries you’re traveling to. Some of the common vaccinations we might give are Hepatitis B, cholera, typhoid, diphtheria and malaria among others, as well as tablets that you may need while traveling.
Avoid sun exposure
Living in this region means living in a hot environment for the better part of the year. But equally, if you’re traveling anywhere in the summer (unless you’ll be going to destinations that lie far south of the equator) chances are you’ll be exposed to a lot of sun, which can be quite harmful to your skin, particularly those of us who may have a slightly fairer complexion. So, it’s very important that you ensure that you cover up accordingly and that you apply the appropriate skin factor protection for strong sunlight.
If you have fairer skin, you will need a Sun Protection Factor 50. This is because you really have to avoid any burning of the skin because repeated burning episodes can put you at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. If you’re concerned that you’ve developed some severe burns, or you’ve noticed some new moles forming, it’s very important that you go see your family medicine doctor who can have a good look at the skin freckles or spots that you’re concerned about, and then take the appropriate action from there.
Don’t ignore your allergies
Allergies can be quite common in the summer months where peoples’ allergies tend to flare up. Pollen allergies and dust allergies also become more apparent in the summer months so, if you’re suffering from symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, don’t suffer in silence; go and see your doctor to talk about your symptoms. While here you can be prescribed medications that help prevent or limit some of these symptoms as much as possible. For instance, antihistamines can be prescribed quite safely.
Some people who have conditions such as asthma can find that their breathing gets a little bit worse in the summer and winter months, but particularly in the summer due to the dry weather and other allergy-causing environmental factors which may lead to difficulty in breathing. So, make sure that if you are having any flare-ups or chronic conditions, do see your Family Medicine Doctor to try and optimize medications.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
One of the other major factors causing people to get unwell during the summer months is that we tend to forget to drink up enough water. Water is a vital part of all metabolical processes in our bodies and helps to keep it well-hydrated and to maintain our blood pressure so that we can function effectively throughout the day. If you’re spending any considerable amount of time outside where it’s quite hot and humid you can get dehydrated quite quickly particularly more so for younger people and children as well.
So, as an adult, you should be drinking at least 2 – 3 liters of water per day. This might sound like a lot but if you drink consistently throughout the day with regular small mouthfuls or cupfuls of water this might be enough to maintain your adequate hydration levels throughout the day. Some of the symptoms of hydration you might feel include dryness of the mouth, feeling dizzy, getting a headache, or generally feeling quite faint. If you worry that you’re suffering from dehydration, please do consider seeing your Family Medicine Doctor.
In the summer, for anyone with any chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other conditions that affect you, they can become more severe when you’re a bit dehydrated. Because of this, it is important that if you do suffer from any of these chronic conditions, you should make an appointment to see your Family Medicine Doctor.