How do you keep yourself healthy in the summer?

Summer health: find out some common health concerns and how to stay healthy

S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
Ask Louise

12 May 2021

How do you keep yourself healthy in summer?

To keep yourself healthy in summer, you should support your immune system, use insect repellent to avoid insect bites, eat fresh ingredients, keep your nutrient levels topped up and make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Also, avoid staying in the sun for long periods and aim for balance when drinking alcohol.

10 tips to keep yourself healthy in summer

To keep healthy during the summer months, here are some tips that may help:

1. Look out for your immune system

Some cold viruses, such as enterovirus, actually prefer warmer temperatures, making summer colds quite a common occurrence. A few summer scenarios may also weaken the immune system a little, such as an increase in physical activity and the stress of planning and executing a holiday. Plus, being out in a new environment increases the likelihood that your body will be exposed to new cold viruses as you meet new people and new bugs! Travel hubs are also key in spreading illnesses around.

To keep your immune system healthy during the summer I would suggest increasing your intake of immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. You can find all of these in A.Vogel's Immune Support Tablets, which comes in a handy one-a-day dosage.

2. Ward off insects

Midge and mosquito bites are more common in the summer months as the milder temperatures mean these insects are active. The symptoms, which I am sure we are all quite familiar with, can include itchiness, swelling and redness on the skin.

Insects can be a bit of a nuisance in summer, especially if you are out for regular walks or are trying to enjoy a BBQ out in the garden. To keep them at bay, I suggest using a natural insect repellent, such as Neem Insect Repellent.

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3. Protect yourself from the sun

Excess exposure to UV light from the sun contributes to a complaint we will all have experienced at one time or another: sunburn. The skin becomes hot, red and sore but, thankfully, this usually only lasts a few days before the skin begins to peel and heal itself. Until this occurs, we can soothe the skin by applying aloe vera-based lotions and by taking a cool shower.

To avoid getting sunburn in the first instance, take the necessary precautions to keep your body cool and healthy. So, wear a hat, opt for loose, long-sleeved shirts, apply plenty of sun cream (and at regular intervals too) and, on occasion, sit in the shade as well.

4. Stay hydrated

We definitely need to up our intake of water during the summer months when temperatures are warm and we are more active. Summer cocktails and gins can also be dehydrating, so we need to counter this by increasing our water intake.
If we experience summer health issues like sunburn, prickly heat, or heat stroke, it is even more important that we drink plenty of water to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Heatstroke is more common on holidays abroad, where the temperatures are regularly much higher than we'd experience on a UK staycation. However, warm temperatures are not unheard of in the UK, plus holiday habits, such as higher alcohol consumption, may mean that we don't consume quite as much water as our bodies need, further contributing to symptoms of heatstroke such as headaches and dizziness.

Prickly heat, meanwhile, is another common occurrence at the peak of summer, as it is caused by excessive sweating. The symptoms include itchy, red spots on the skin that are sometimes accompanied by a stinging or prickling sensation.

To improve your water intake and help these kinds of issues you could use a water app, such as Water Drink Reminder, so that you don't forget to keep sipping!

5. Manage your allergies

As a range of plants pollinate from anywhere between March to October, hayfever is one of the biggest summer health issues out there. We also know that the summer weather can have a huge bearing on hayfever symptoms like watery eyes and a runny nose. This is because plants release pollen when the temperatures are warm, plus pollen can rise with temperatures making it more likely to reach the nose and eyes and cause symptoms here.

Again, natural treatments can be a really good method of managing seasonal allergies. You could try Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets, for example, which are made from a range of different herbs to help combat symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes. On top of this, being aware of the local pollen count will ensure you are prepared to deal with hayfever.

For more allergy-beating tips, check out our Hayfever Hub.

6. Keep your nutrient levels topped up

We can lose more nutrients and vital electrolytes like magnesium and potassium when we sweat; and this, of course, is more likely when temperatures are warm or we are moving around outside.

Balance Mineral Drink may, therefore, be a good addition to keep up levels of these important electrolytes, including vitamin D, zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium. You can mix the strawberry-flavoured sachets with a smoothie to boost your nutrient intake further or enjoy it with a little water.

In summer, we can make use of all the fresh produce available. Fruit, vegetables and herbs are at their best at this time so get creative with salads and veg-packed meals to fill your body with a range of beneficial nutrients. Check out our recipe hub for some suggestions.

7. Soothe varicose veins

Varicose veins are often made worse by the warmer temperatures in summer, and so symptoms like achiness, swelling and tenderness may become more apparent.

When the body heats up, veins expand to allow more blood to flow to the surface of the skin and cool the body down. In doing so, more blood is directed towards and then through any varicose veins. This puts more pressure on the veins causing the potential for further damage.

On top of this, if we are traveling the length and breadth of the UK for our summer staycations, all this sedentary time may add further to the problem of varicose veins. This is because there is little opportunity to stimulate circulation and get the blood flowing whilst shut up in the confines of a car or train.

As varicose veins can be made worse by warmer temperatures and travel, having some Venagel Horse Chestnut Gel can be handy. This topical gel contains extracts of Horse Chestnut to help relieve symptoms of varicose veins such as tired, achy legs.

Gentle exercise and elevating the legs whilst sitting are some additional tips to help varicose veins.

8. Manage aches and pains

As the Spring and Summer weather hits, there is generally a rush to get outdoors and make new experiences here, whether that's walking, cycling, hiking, running or just strolling around a country park. Whilst it is great to have these opportunities, this increase in activity levels does throw up the potential for aches, pains and injuries to occur in the muscles and joints, especially as most of us will have gone from living quite sedentary, predictable routines in lockdown, to moving at a much quicker pace in a fairly short period of time.

So, to avoid aches and pains in the first place it is best to ease yourself into any new hobbies gradually, rather than choosing an 8-mile hike for your first post-winter activity! Try gentle evening walks, for example, as a starting point.

If you need help addressing any specific aches and pains, it can be helpful to get the advice of a physiotherapist to get to the root of what's causing the issue in the first place.

9. Take steps to avoid ‘traveller’s tummy’

'Traveller's tummy', which usually consists of symptoms like diarrhoea or vomiting, is perhaps more common during a trip abroad. Here we are more likely to be exposed to unfamiliar foods, for example, that our digestive system may struggle to cope with. Also, sometimes these foods aren't cooked, stored or served to the same standards that are regulated by the likes of the UK's Food Standard Agency. As a result, there's more scope for catching unwanted bugs or bacteria. We also know that travel abroad, particularly on long-distance flights, can upset our routines and, in turn, our bowel habits.

To prevent this issue from ruining your holiday, avoid buying food from street vendors, make sure food is piping hot when you get it and try to stay away from raw meats and shellfish. A good rule is to opt for local delicacies too, rather than British favourites like pizza or burgers.

If you are stuck down with a traveller's tummy, make sure you drink plenty of water. You can also replace sugars by drinking lots of flavoured (not fizzy) drinks.

10. Aim for balance when drinking alcohol

Finally, remember summer is all about balance. Enjoy the evenings when you can get out and about later, but don't forget to take a rest day here and there to potter around the garden or roll on your sun lounger. Equally, make the most of seeing friends and, if you like, having a glass of wine or two. However, during the summer, and especially when we are on holiday, it can be easy to get into the habit of drinking on a more regular basis. So, on occasion, why not switch to a refreshing mocktail instead?

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