For most people, warm summer months mean trips to the beach, lazy days by the pool, hikes in the woods, and grilling out in the evenings. But sometimes all the fun and games of summer can come to a halt due to common summer illnesses.
Before you dive into your pool, join in a game of beach volleyball, or take a hike through the woods to your favorite waterfall, take the time to learn about some common illnesses that could interfere with your fun summer plans.
Bug bites – Insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and spiders enjoy the summer weather just as much as we do, but unfortunately, bites from these insects can cause illness and infections. Mosquitos can transmit viruses such as West Nile virus and Yellow Fever, and ticks can transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) – Different types of bacteria can be transmitted through water used for recreational purposes, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, and lakes, and cause infection. Some of the most common diseases spread through water include Giardia, “Crypto,” Norovirus, and E. Coli. Swimming can also cause water to become trapped in the ear canal and grow bacteria, causing swimmer’s ear, a type of painful ear infection.
Food poisoning – Warm summer temperatures are the perfect environment for bacteria that like to grow and live on your food. In fact, the USDA states that foodborne illnesses do increase during the summer months due to warm temperatures and the fact that more people cook outside without access to the same safety controls they would have in a kitchen, such as refrigerators and sinks for hand washing.
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac – Going on a hike, camping in the woods, and working in the yard are all fun summer activities, but they also increase your chances of coming into contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac. People who are allergic to these poisonous plants typically experience a red, itchy, and uncomfortable rash. However, this doesn’t mean you have to stop your favorite activities to avoid the plants. You can often prevent encountering poison ivy, oak, or sumac by learning how to identify the plants and wearing long sleeves and pants when walking in areas where they might grow.
Heat-related illnesses – Heat from the sun may feel nice while you are taking a dip in the pool, but too much sun can be a bad thing. Heat-related illnesses occur when your body loses the ability to cool itself off, typically due to prolonged exposure to hot temperatures. W