For many of us it’s warm weather season, and that means spending more time outside and soaking up lots of vitamin D.
But don’t let the sunny days and warm nights fool you. Summer also holds significant weather hazards. Heat waves can be lengthy and deadly. And playing children are easily distracted by all the summer fun, pool parties, etc. so they won’t notice a bad sunburn until it’s too late.
Here’s your list to ensure you’re ready for any summer eventuality:
- Sunglasses - These aren’t just for fashion, they help prevent cataracts. So make sure you invest in a good pair to protect those peepers from UV radiation. Look for ones that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays.
- Sunscreen - After a hat and shirt, sunscreen is the next best thing you can use to protect your skin. A great review on sunscreens can be found at ewg.org/sunscreen. If you have a family member with sensitive skin buy a small bottle at first to test and avoid spending more than you need to find your sunscreen causes an itchy rash!
- Hydrocortisone - Speaking of rashes, keep some hydrocortisone cream on hand. It’s great for relieving those bothersome summertime itches caused by heat rash, poison ivy, oak and sumac, bug bites, or bee stings. For a natural remedy, just brew a strong mug of chamomile tea, pour onto a washcloth and use as a compress. (It also makes a wonderful nightcap.)
- Water - Drink enough water to prevent feeling thirsty. Once you start feeling thirsty, you've probably lost about 1% of your body water and are dehydrated. With a 2% water loss, you could experience serious fatigue and cardiovascular impairments. For kids and the elderly, deleterious effects can be severe – so drink up!
- Aloe Vera Plants - Many of us can recall a parent snipping off the tip of an aloe leaf and squeezing it onto sunburned skin to cool it. They were right! Aloe vera helps heal minor wounds and has antibacterial properties as well as vitamins and minerals. These inexpensive green plants are widely available and can be grown just about anywhere. So there is no excuse to be without one!
- Asthma/Allergy Meds - An abundance of summer pollen can trigger symptoms, especially in the summer heat. Make sure you have the right kind of medication with you at home, in your purse and/or vehicle. You can also monitor the amount of pollen in the air at pollen.com. Before heading out for a fun summer day, check out the EPA’s Air Quality Index. It can be found at airnow.gov.
- Cornstarch - It’s an inexpensive pantry basic useful for many warm weather problems. It’s great for soothing chafing from sweaty skin and can be mixed with water and made into a paste to relieve bug bites and rashes.
- Insect & Tick Repellent - Lyme disease affects thousands of people in the US every year. If you live in one of the higher-risk zones, keep an eye out for any sign of a tick bite. People are infected most often by nymphs (immature ticks) who, due to their small size (about the size of a poppy seed), escape detection and remain attached longer than adult ticks.
- Plan – This is not an item you can keep in your bag, but do keep in mind that babies and toddlers, the elderly, pregnant women, as well as those with chronic health issues have a particularly hard time when the weather gets really hot! If anyone in your family fits in one of these categories, have a plan for keeping them cool, especially if the power goes out and takes the central air with it!
Hope you and your family stay safe this summer!