23d MDG issues top 10 summer health risks

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Summer is a great time to be outside and enjoy the weather, but summer activities can also bring additional health risks. Be sure to be safe this summer by knowing these top 10 summer health risks. A little bit of prevention can keep your summer safe.

1. Skin Cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. More than 1 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. If caught early, skin cancer is usually treated easily. Skin cancer is more common in people who:
· have spent lots of time in the sun or have been sunburned
· have fair skin, hair and eyes
· have a family member who had skin cancer
· are older than 50

You should check yourself for skin cancer every few months. When in the sun, wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. Sunscreens should be considered a vital part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. When shopping for sunscreen, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation, which is awarded to sun protection products that meet stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness. For additional information regarding skin cancer and sunscreen use, visit the Skin Care Foundation official website here.

2. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that can be life threatening. In heat stroke, the body's core temperature rises. Much like a fever, extremely high body temperatures can lead to permanent damage. Some signs of heat stroke include:
· confusion
· short, rapid breathing
· no longer sweating, decreased sweating, or dry skin
· fast pulse or accelerated heart beat

If someone exhibits any of these signs, call 911 immediately and move the person to a shaded, cooler environment. For more information on heat stroke, visit the Mayo Clinic website here, and search for heat exhaustion.

3. Food Poisoning
The CDC estimates that 76 million people a year suffer from food poisoning. Summer time is full of picnics, and picnics bring food out into the open where it can stay warm too long. Avoid an outbreak of food poisoning this summer by following simple guidelines on food safety and food handling available here. Common sense will prevent you, your friends and family from coming down with a food-borne illness.

4. Eye Damage
UV rays in sunlight can damage your eyes. If out in the sunlight during the summertime, be sure to wear sunglasses that filter out UV light. Otherwise, your sunglasses are opening up your pupils by making things darker, which actually lets in more UV rays, not less. Ensure your sunglasses filter out 100 percent of UV light. Also be sure to wear them around water since water can reflect a tremendous about of light to your eyes.

5. Driving Accidents (driver fatigue, defensive driving, etc.)
Driving accidents are the number one killer for young people. Avoid summer car accidents by:
· never drinking and driving
· keeping summer road trips to a reasonable length
· never driving after midnight

For additional safe driving and travel tips, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website here.

6. Drowning
Each year, more than 3,000 people drown in pool-related accidents and more than 650 drown in boating accidents. For each child under 14 that drowns, another five suffer from near drowning. Prevent these summer tragedies through supervision, proper pool safety and enforcing rules around the water. Visit the CDC website for Injury and Violence Prevention and Control here.

7. Dehydration
Dehydration can happen quickly in the summer heat. Be sure to have water handy while in the heat for a long time. Don't forget about children too - they may not ask for water. Be sure to take frequent water breaks during the children's summer activities.

8. Bug Bites
Bug bites can be annoying and itchy. But, they can also be serious if they bring an infectious disease like West Nile or Lyme disease. Prevent bug bites and infection this summer by avoiding places with a lot of insects, using a good bug repellent, and wearing long pants and sleeves.

9. Unsafe Sex
Visit the CDC website and search for Sexual Health.

10. Fireworks Injury
Each year, almost 10,000 people are injured by fireworks so severely that they must go to the emergency room. If you plan on using fireworks in your own backyard, use common sense and understand what each firework does and keep children at a safe distance.

For questions regarding the information in this article, please contact the 23d Medical Group at 229-257-2677.