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Summer Health Tips

How to Help Protect Your Eyes and Ears This Summer

Outdoor concerts and activities are synonymous with summer, offering Texans an opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather. But these traditions often have a connection to the health of your eyes and ears, so it is important to be mindful as we celebrate the summer and all that goes with it.

Here are several summertime settings to take note of to help protect your eyes and ears: 

A Day in the Sun
If you’re planning an outing that involves many hours in the sun, it is a good idea to use eye protection in addition to sunscreen. 

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause damage to both your skin and your eyes. UV rays may contribute to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration, which may result in blindness. Intense short-term exposure to UV light may cause “eye sunburn,” a painful condition associated with outdoor recreational activity. 

Too much long-term exposure may contribute to skin cancer around the eyes and sight-threatening conditions. To help reduce these risks, protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses that block out 99% or more of UV rays and a wide-brimmed hat. 

Keep in mind that it is important for people – especially children – to get outside and take breaks from digital devices. Studies show that natural light can promote healthy vision, especially among children and teens with developing eyes, and that spending time outside may be a protective factor against nearsightedness. Partly due to extended periods of up-close reading and screen time, more than 40% of Americans have nearsightedness (myopia), which is the inability to see far off objects clearly, and the percentage is growing.

Sounds of Summer
Summer is also a popular time for sporting events and music concerts, which can lead to exposure to loud sounds. Crowd noise at some sporting events can exceed 90 decibels; music concerts can exceed 115 decibels. Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels may contribute to gradual hearing loss, so it is a good idea to use ear protection – such as earplugs or earmuffs – when seeing your favorite team or band. This type of protection is especially important for babies and children attending loud events, as young people’s hearing follicles are more easily damaged compared to those of adults.   

Likewise, extended listening to music or digital content through headphones or earbuds may damage hearing over time. To help prevent that, turn the volume on your electronic device to 60 percent or lower and listen for no longer than 60 minutes at a time. When using power tools or a lawn mower, never listen to earbuds.   

Considering these tips may help you focus on fun, friends and family during the summer, while helping maintain your eye and ear health – and as a result contribute to your overall health – now and in the future.

Avoid Trips to the ER This Summer with the Following Safety Tips

Stock Photo
Stock Photo

The Independence Day holiday is upon us, bringing fireworks, outdoor cookouts, pool parties and other celebrations. Unfortunately, summer months–particularly July and August–are among the busiest times of the year for emergency room (ER) visits, according to data from UnitedHealthcare. Don’t let an injury steal your Texas sunshine this weekend; follow these basic, everyday safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe and out of the ER.

  1. Wear protective gear and helmets.

In order to prevent serious injury from falls or accidents, helmets, sturdy shoes and protective gear such as elbow and knee pads should always be worn when using bicycles, skateboards, scooters and in-line skates. Use designated paths or trails whenever possible, and always avoid traffic.

  1. Limit sun exposure.

The summer sun can cause sunburn, dehydration and even heat stroke, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Continue reapplying every two hours. In the case of a heat stroke or exhaustion, be sure to immediately rest in a cool, shaded place and drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids.

  1. Use insect repellent.

Insect bites can be painful and, for some people, potentially life-threatening. Always apply insect repellent, especially in the evening or when visiting heavily wooded areas, and avoid the use of scented soaps, perfumes and hairspray when going outdoors.

  1. Keep foods cold.

Make sure all picnic foods are stored in cool places and leftovers are put away promptly. Also wash hands regularly, and keep raw foods separate from cooked foods.

  1. Never swim unattended.

Always supervise children when they are in or near water. Ensure that life vests are worn when riding on boats or playing in open water, and monitor weather conditions carefully. It’s best to adjust plans if conditions do not allow for safe swimming.

  1. Stay alert when using power mowers and other outdoor equipment.

Power lawn mowers are some of the most dangerous tools around the home. Avoid injury by wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes and never let a child ride as a passenger on a riding mower.

  1. Be a safe camper.

Use the “buddy” system and always camp with at least one companion. Take appropriate camping equipment and supplies, including a complete first aid kit and emergency signaling devices.

Following these tips will help you make the most of your summer festivities while also ensuring your family’s safety.

Happy Independence Day!