2017-06-25 / Insight

Be safe this SUMMER Advice for a fun and healthy season

Watch out for sun burn, bug bites, dehydration
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER TWP. — Bug bites, sun burn, and dehydration are just some of the things everyone has to be aware of this time of year.

And with the season officially here, the Lapeer County Health Dept. and other federal and state organizations are busy reminding people of issues to be aware of and steps that can be taken to prevent real summer bummers.

“Everyone looks forward to the summer months — warmer weather, vacations, time outdoors,” said Kathy Haskins, director, Lapeer County Health Dept. “A bit of preventative thinking may help to make this time even more enjoyable.”

Among Haskins’ biggest concerns are those associated with insects.

“Ticks and mosquitoes happen to like the warmer weather as well, but can carry some not-so-fun diseases,” she said. “Keeping the mosquito population down and avoiding tick and mosquito bites as much as possible will reduce your risk of exposure to some of these diseases, such as EEE (eastern equine encephalitis) and West Nile Virus (mosquito borne), and Lyme Disease (tick borne).”

Since ticks essentially “hang out” in wooded or brushy areas with high grasses and leaf litter, Haskins recommends walking in the center of trails.

The Center for Disease Control offers additional tips:

Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that last several hours.

Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing .5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a handheld or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

Haskins urges residents to use similarly proactive approaches to mosquitoes.

Last June, two mosquito pools collected in Saginaw County by the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission tested positive for West Nile Virus at Michigan State University. These findings confirm that the virus is circulating in mosquitoes in the state and presents a clear risk to human health.

According to MDHHS, West Nile virus can cause serious neurological illnesses, such as meningitis and encephalitis.

“Adults who are 50 and older have the highest risk of illness caused by West Nile virus. People who work in outdoor occupations such as landscaping and construction are at increased risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito,” says Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the MDHHS. “One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to a severe and possibly life-altering illness. Prevention is the key to protection.”

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and use bug spray to have a safe and fun summer. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and use bug spray to have a safe and fun summer. Though the West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes were in Saginaw County, MDHHS officials urge “all Michigan residents should follow simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The organization recommends looking for repellents similar to that used for ticks, even oil of lemon eucalyptus.

It also recommends draining standing water, especially in old tires, and making sure door and window screens are in good repair will also help keep mosquitoes out of the home.

Bug bites aren’t the only things to worry about this summer.

There is also the sun.

The CDC states that “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.”

The CDC’s sun safety tips include:

• Seek shade, especially during midday hours.

• Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.

• Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.

• Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.

• Use sunscreen with broad spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher.

• Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

• Of course, if the sun is out and temps are up, that means people run the risk for dehydration.

According to Jodi Schulz, an educator with the Michigan State University Extension, kids are especially at-risk since they often play hard during their long summer vacation days.

“The Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness suggests that all beverages, including water, milk, juice and other fluids, can help meet a child’s hydration needs,” she said. The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests kids drink between 7.5 and 14 cups of fluid per day (kids 14-18 years old on the higher end.)

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