health

Stay Healthy During the Season Change

Mikayla Borchert

Benovate’s Expert Blogger

Mikayla Borchert

Benovate’s Expert Blogger

5 Spring Health Concerns and How to Prevent Them

As we move into warmer weather, it can seem like health concerns are a thing of the past. However, plenty of potential issues remain. Spring is a wonderful time to get outdoors and enjoy yourself, but it’s important to look out for your overall well-being at the same time. Here are five health concerns and how to prevent them throughout the season change.

Prevent these five health concerns to make spring a time of energy and well-being:

Seasonal Allergies

Do you find yourself sneezing, sniffling, and itching whenever the flowers bloom? Don’t worry; there are some preventative measures you can take. Many local news stations include a pollen forecast in the weather segment, but if yours doesn’t, you can always check online. Pollen is more prevalent on dry, windy days, so try to stay inside especially during those times. When it comes to chores like mowing the lawn and tending to the garden, try to avoid doing them yourself.

Instead, ask to trade chores with a family member or roommate who doesn’t have seasonal allergies. If you can’t stay out of the spring sunshine, be sure to change your clothes and shower as soon as your return home in order to free your skin of allergens. Don’t hang laundry to dry outside because it can collect pollen from the air.

If these guidelines aren’t quite doing the trick, talk to your healthcare provider about possible allergy medicines.

Common Cold and Influenza

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.” While winter is the peak time for cold and flu, a season change doesn’t put you in the clear. It’s necessary to keep washing your hands year round. Wash thoroughly with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. Do this often, and always before cooking or touching your face. Your hands can carry cold-causing viruses from everyday activities like touching a doorknob, riding the bus, or shaking someone else’s hand.

There is no vaccine for the common cold, but you can get one for the flu. This is quick and easy to get, you can likely receive one at your local pharmacy, and it will protect you and your loved ones. If you didn’t get a flu shot last fall, talk to your healthcare provider about getting one now.

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Insect Bites and Stings

Although they can be annoying, bug bites are usually nothing to worry about. Some are painful and some itch. Some even cause a welt. We’ll talk about three common pests you might encounter while enjoying a spring hike: bees, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Bees usually leave people alone, but sometimes you can’t avoid a sting. Use a credit card, fingernail, or gauze to scrape a stinger out. Don’t use tweezers; it will squeeze more venom into the wound and cause a worse reaction. If you are allergic to bees, always bring your emergency medicine when you travel, especially if you’ll be outdoors.

Mosquitoes are mostly harmless in the United States, but some can carry West Nile virus. Talk to a medical provider if you start to feel feverish after a bite. If you’re taking a spring trip outside of the US, visit a travel clinic before leaving. They can help you prevent mosquito borne illnesses while you’re abroad.

Ticks are especially prevalent in areas with tall grass and forests. They can carry diseases such as Lyme and tularemia. Tuck your pant legs into your socks when spending time in areas with ticks, and always check yourself and your children for ticks when you get home.

To prevent trouble with any of these three and more, remember these tips:

  • Do not bother any insects you see. They are more likely to bite or sting when aggravated.
  • Use insect repellent, especially with DEET.
  • Wear protective clothing like long pants and socks.
  • Watch out when eating outside; food attracts more insects.

Sun Safety

The sunshine is a welcome change after the winter months, so make sure to spend time outside and enjoy it. Whether you’re staying close to home or heading somewhere warmer, be careful of health concerns like sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration.

Remember to wear sunscreen, sunglasses with UV protection, hats that provide shade, and shirts that cover your shoulders. You can still get a sunburn on cold and cloudy days, so take these precautions whenever you go outside.

The best way to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration is to drink lots of water. Be cautious if drinking alcohol, especially if you’re outdoors. Practice responsible consumption (fewer than four drinks a day for men and three or fewer for women). If you start to feel weak or lightheaded, stop any physical activity and get to a cool place out of the sun. Sip water consistently throughout the day to replenish your body and stay healthy.

Water Safety

Our last spring health concern is how to stay safe around water. When the days heat up, people flock to pools and lakes to cool down. Water activities can be tons of fun and great exercise, but they can also be dangerous.

When it comes to water, the buddy system is appropriate for people of all ages. Never go boating or swimming alone. If you do go boating, always wear a life jacket and avoid alcohol before driving. According to the US Coast Guard’s 2017 report, “Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.” In addition to boat safety, follow all beach and pool rules. If you’re unsure why something isn’t allowed, ask a lifeguard for more information.

If you would like to learn how to swim or brush up on your skills, the American Red Cross has a tool to locate lessons for adults and children.

Improve Your Overall Well-being…

Getting outside and being active are some of the best ways to improve your overall well-being, so use these tips to enjoy the spring weather and stay healthy year-round.

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