Top ten summer health tips

Dr Owen Wiese, General Practitioner, Intercare Tyger Valley

1. Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock

South Africa is blessed with long, hot days and nothing beats a day on the beach. Taking care of your skin is vital. The incidence of skin cancer is on the rise world-wide and using sunscreen is essential. Opt for waterproof sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Limit your time in the sun between the danger hours of 10am and 4pm.

2. Keep well hydrated

Being more active means more perspiration. Warm days also take its toll on the hydration status of the body. Make sure an ample amount of cold water is available to your family. Healthy fruit shakes, juices and iced-teas are also great options to keep you and your family well hydrated.

Good choices:

  1. Freshly squeezed fruit juices.
  2. Home made lemonade.
  3. Fruit and yoghurt smoothies.
  4. Fresh water with mint leafs

3. Eat light and fresh

Make use of the season's fresh produce to prepare healthy meals for your family. Children like light meals as to heavy set meals. Being more active they will often raid the fridge. Ensure light snacks are available. A bowl of fruit is always a winner.

Good choices:

  1. Crackers with cream cheese.
  2. Light, toasted sandwiches.
  3. Fruit salad.
  4. Salad and grilled fish.

4. Get active

Strolling on the beach or an early evening stroll around your neighbourhood is a great way to keep your muscles working. Turn excursion into activities by walking to the beach or park instead of taking the car.

5. Remember to sleep

Longer days mean that we tend to stay up later. Although this is okay, best is still to stick to your normal sleep cycle. Your body is used to a certain number hours of sleep. Suddenly depriving you from sleep might make you feel tired and restless. Sleeping-in is also fine, but getting out of bed at 12pm will sure make you feel more tired later in the day.

6.  Turn-off the Technology

Take a break from "electronic pollution" and turn off your cell phone, tablet and laptop-even if it is only for a day or two. Relaxing in its ultimate form is not spending time on your electronic device, but rather engaging in some me-time. Read a book or visit a botanical garden instead.

7.  Stay safe

Swim in areas where lifeguards are on duty, wear a helmet while cycling and don't allow your child to play unsupervised even in play parks. Ensuring the safety of you and your family is important. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers on hand.

8. First-aid kits

You never know when accidents might happen. Keeping a well stocked first aid kit on hand is important. Plasters, disinfectants, splints, eye patches, gauzes and bandages are essential. Also stock creams for insect stings and bites, pain and fever medication and after-sun ointment.

9. Don't over indulge

Nothing beats a cool summer evening cocktail. But beware not to over-indulge only to wake up with a terrible hang over the next day. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to ensure you keep well hydrated. The misery of a hangover on a hot summer day is incomprehensible.

10. Unwind, rewind

After a busy year, spend ample time to relax and unwind. Recharge your batteries and make sure you are well rested to make 2016 the best year of your life.

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