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Fun in the Sun: Summer Health Tips

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 04 December 2017
Don’t risk losing precious time that could be spent next to the pool by having to rush to the emergency room this summer holiday.

To avoid such a catastrophe, we’ve put together a list of the most common reasons why people end up going to the emergency room while on holiday and how to avoid them.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke, which is also known as sun stroke, is usually more prevalent during the summer months. It occurs when your body is exposed to heat for a prolonged period or physical exertion in extremely high temperatures.

The most severe case of heat stroke is when the body reaches 40°C which can cause serious harm to the brain, kidneys, heart and muscles.

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, confused mental state, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, losing consciousness and headache.

Prevention:

- Avoid wearing excess clothes when spending time outside.

- Take measures to avoid sunburn like wearing a wide-brimmed hat and using a high SPF sunscreen.

- Drink enough fluids to keep your body cool.

- Avoid going outside during the hottest times of the day (between 11h00 and 15h00).

Stomach bug

Food-borne illnesses like food poisoning and gastroenteritis rise during the warmer months because hot and humid conditions are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, headache and extreme abdominal cramping.

Prevention:

- Avoid leaving food sitting out in the sun for too long.

- Throw out food that has passed their expiry date.

- Wash fruits and vegetables properly before use.

- Wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.

- Be sure to thoroughly cook chicken, pork, fish and meat.

Sunburn

Many holiday goers end up in the emergency room after spending too much time sunbathing. Extreme sunburn symptoms include blisters, nausea, headache, pain and swelling.

The sun’s UVA and UVB rays are very dangerous and can even alter your DNA and make you age faster. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays could also increase your chances of skin cancer.

Prevention:

- Wear sun protective gear like a broad-brimmed hat and a long-sleeved shirt when spending time in the sun.

- Apply high SPF (50+) sunscreen when outside.

- Reapply sunscreen after swimming or towelling dry.

- Use a sun-protective umbrella when outside.

- Drink enough water when spending time in the sun.

Vehicle accidents

During the summer holidays, thousands of South Africans flock to their holiday destinations. This sudden influx of people on the roads leaves many vulnerable to road accidents. Road safety is the key to arriving alive at your destination, especially if you plan on going on a long journey.

Prevention:

- Before leaving for your holiday, check if the following on your car are in good working condition: tyres, lights, windscreen, steering and braking system.

- Be sure to stop and rest by the roadside if you feel tired or sleepy.

- Always have your emergency service provider’s number, like Netcare 911 (082 911), close by.

- Ensure that the whole family is safe by checking that their seatbelts are fastened.

Drowning

Summer is synonymous with having fun in the water. But with this comes the responsibility of staying safe.

Drowning happens when a person is unable to swim or stay afloat and inhales water into their airways that obstruct air from entering the lungs.

Prevention:

- Underaged children should always be supervised around bodies of water.

- Safety gear like a floating jacket should be worn when swimming.

- Teach kids the basics of swimming with frequent swimming lessons.

- Have an emergency number close by in case of a medical emergency. Members of GetSavvi  Health, irrespective of what plan you’re signed up with, have access to emergency benefits from ER24 (084 124).

- Brush up on the basics about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in case of a medical emergency. Click here to learn more about CPR. 

Be prepared this vacay

GetSavvi Health members have access to a network list of more than 2 000 GPs across the country. Check our GP network list to find a doctor close to your holiday destination.

Sources: www.mayoclinic.org; www.huffingtonpost.com; www.webmd.com ; www.arrivealive.co.za

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