It’s a well-known fact that injuries related to sports and recreation occur more often during the warm summer months. The reasons for this are fairly obvious: When summer rolls around, people of all ages are spending more time outside being active, exercising, and participating in their favorite athletic activities. This leads to a greater number of mishaps that require a visit to urgent care.
But there are also a number of summer illnesses to watch out for. In order to keep you and your family healthy and safe throughout the summer, let’s take a closer look at what these summer illnesses are.
1. Recreational water illnesses
These illnesses are more common than you might think – in fact, they have their own acronym (RWIs). Essentially, what you need to know is that bacterial infections such as E. Coli, Giardia, and Norovirus can be transmitted through contact with water. That includes lakes, pools, and hot tubs (the ocean generally does not present these problems). Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stay away from the water (what kind of summer would that be?) – it just means you should develop an awareness of these illnesses, including documented cases in your area, and take precautionary measures where appropriate. If you think you or a family member may have acquired an RWI, head for your local urgent care center immediately and get checked.
2. Plants and bugs
Summer brings an abundance of biological activity, and illnesses can be passed to humans by plants and bugs alike. Ticks can give people Lyme disease, or the lesser-known Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mosquitoes can transmit yellow fever or West Nile virus. Contact with certain plants – like poison ivy or poison oak – can lead to severe skin reactions that last for weeks, even with proper treatment. A good quality insect repellent, and a heightened awareness of dangerous plants in your area, are the best defense against these kinds of illnesses.
3. Food poisoning
Summer means outdoor picnics and barbecues – what could be better than that? Actually, this creates a whole new set of health risks. The USDA has clearly stated that warm summer temperatures make it easier for bacteria to grow on food, leading to foodborne illnesses. Certain foods like fish, meat, poultry, and egg-based foods (tainted mayonnaise is a common culprit) can lead to food poisoning. Cooking outside in unsanitary conditions can also be a problem.
4. Heat and sun
Heat and sun are what we live for during the summer months, especially if the winter has been long. But heat-related illnesses are common, and it’s important to remember that too much sun and/or heat is a health risk. Sunscreen, shade, proper attire, and proper planning are very important.
When to visit urgent care
Most of the illnesses mentioned here will, in most cases, not be life-threatening. That’s the golden rule when it comes to urgent care. If someone’s life may be in danger, go to the emergency room without a second thought (or call 911). Otherwise, urgent care is the right choice for fast, professional medical attention.