Summer checklist: Six tips to have a healthy summer vacation

Dr. Kristina Petsas, Chief Medical Officer

UnitedHealthcare of Oregon

Summer is heating up in Oregon and many locals are making plans to go for an adventure outdoors. While summer is a great time to explore, it is also important to stay healthy and safe. For example, did you know that annually, there are about 11 drowning deaths per day? Or, that more people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined, and most cases of skin cancer are associated with sun exposure?
To help Oregonians have a fun and healthy summer vacation, below are six tips to consider:×

  1. Water Safety: No matter the type of body of water, ways to prevent water injuries or accidents include learning swimming skills, wearing a life jacket, learning and practicing CPR, avoiding drinking before and while swimming, and paying attention to the weather for any unexpected storms or strong winds.
  2. Protect Your Skin: Most types of skin cancer are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your skin cells. It’s important to remember to stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 15 SPF or higher when out in the sun.
  3. Stay Safe While Traveling: Be aware of various health concerns around your destination such as zika, dengue, malaria, and more from mosquitos and ticks. Be sure to use EPA-registered insect repellent.× Close Products with OLE or PMD should not be used on children younger than three years old.
  4. Understand the Relationship Between Temperature and Your Medicine: Heat, air, light, and moisture may damage your medicine. As such, be sure to store your medications in a cool, dry place. Be aware of medication that contain ingredients that can cause photosensitivity, such as antibiotics, antihistamines, retinoids and more.
  5. Protect Yourself from Tick Bites: Ticks are a year-round problem, but they are most active in warmer weather, from April to September. Be aware of your environment – ticks thrive in grassy or wooded areas, spray down clothing and outdoor equipment with a spray containing .5% of permethrin, avoid walking through high grass, and examine clothes, gear and pets after being outside.
  6. Keep Kids Cool and Hydrated: Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids that aren’t really cold or have too much sugar. Also, never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
    By considering these tips, Oregonians can enjoy their summer vacation while keeping themselves and their family healthy. Also, consider checking your insurance coverage to find out if it’s applicable to where you are traveling. In the case of a serious injury or illness, certain policies can direct you to the appropriate care.