The season for fun under the sun is officially here. It’s the perfect time to plan beach trips, do outdoor activities or travel to Baguio. But the onset of warm and vibrant weather also means that summer-related diseases are rearing their ugly heads to spoil our fun during vacation time.
Every year, the Department of Health releases advisories to remind the public of diseases to observe during the months of March to May. We’ve rounded up six of the most common illnesses and how you can prevent them from turning your summer into a bummer.
Sunburn is the most common condition acquired during the summer. It’s no surprise given how searing hot the sun can be due to our country’s climate. While we often think that sunburn is just a harmless aftereffect of an enjoyable time at the beach, severe sunburn is a risk factor for serious conditions such as skin cancer.
How to avoid it: Before you expose your skin to the sun, remember to rub on sunblock or sunscreen that has a high SPF level. Apply the lotion or cream 15-30 minutes before you leave the house to make sure the product seeps into your skin. If you can, avoid planning outdoor activities between 11am to 2pm as the UV rays are strongest during those hours.
Sore eyes or conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the inner lining of the eyelid and outer lining of the eyeball. The swelling is commonly caused by viral infection although it can also be due to allergic reactions or bacteria buildup. Sore eyes usually manifest within 3 to 4 days and can last up to 2 weeks. Its symptoms include redness of the eyes, itching, discharge and sensitivity to light.
How to avoid it: Wash your hands thoroughly or clean them with rubbing alcohol before you touch your eyes. Any material such as sunglasses, towels and make up that came in contact with an infected person should be properly disinfected.
Fungal skin diseases, such as an-an and athlete’s foot develop during the summer because of hot and humid weather. They occur when your feet get wet in socks and closed shoes due to sweat. Dirty water, especially the ones in public beaches and unmaintained swimming pools, can also cause skin diseases.
How to avoid them: Keep your skin clean and dry as possible. Make sure all of your clothes are newly-washed before wearing them. Don’t walk around barefoot, and clean your skin thoroughly after taking dips in public pools and beaches.
Given the high temperatures during summer, food spoilage is a common occurrence. You can get diarrhea, food poisoning, and other stomach ailments after consuming spoiled food and drinks.
How to avoid them: Be mindful of food preparation and storage methods. Proper hand washing before eating and preparing food is also helpful.
Too much heat and sun exposure can lead to heat stroke. The body overheats and cannot cool down by mere sweating due to intense dehydration. Symptoms include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, convulsions and warm, flushed skin. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may require hospital treatment.
How to avoid it: Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water per day and schedule heavy-duty activities during the start or the end of the day when it’s cooler. Also, wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothes when you have to commute or do strenuous activities outdoors.
A recent measles outbreak in the country highlighted the importance of making informed decisions. The DOH continues to warn the public about the spread of the disease this summer as hot weather weakens our immune systems, making us more prone to viral infections.
How to avoid it: Vaccines are highly effective and safe. For adults with incomplete or no vaccination records, the DOH is providing vaccines to combat mumps, measles, and rubella.
Summer is an exciting time, but the season also brings in health woes that can dampen your fun in the sun. Take precautions so that you won’t have to worry about getting sick while the rest of your family and friends are enjoying summertime activities.
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Chryss loves ice cream, literature, and East Asian pop culture. She would like to pet your dog.