What is one of the biggest joy-crushers during the summer? Getting sick. Instead of sending your children off to camp, enjoying your summer vacation to its fullest, or hanging at the beach, you’re managing backup childcare or staying home with a box of Kleenex and soup. Sound like fun? Of course not. But with a few precautions, you can minimize your and your children’s odds of catching a cold.
1. Air out your home! After a winter of closed doors and stagnant air, let fresh air inside. Open windows and doors. Clean and dust. Wash your sheets, comforters and linens. For an added pick-me-up, add some fresh candles or essential oils to make your house smell delicious. Make sure to do the same for your children’s bedrooms. Have them help you out and make it a fun experience. (I just finished up a huge cleaning of my nine-year old daughter’s room and I was a little horrified at some of the things I found hiding under the bed– like a partially eaten sandwich.)
2. Use sunscreen at all times. Never leave home without applying sunscreen on you and your children. Don’t forget about your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet! This should actually be part of your routine– brush teeth, mascara, sunscreen. Always carry sunscreen with you and re-apply throughout the day.
3. Consider getting a skin cancer screening. It is painless and takes just a few minutes. Many insurance plans offer one screening per year for free. You can also try calling your local hospital to see if they are offering free skin cancer screenings. Make sure to have your children screened, too. I just learned of a 17-year old boy who had a nagging skin irritation near his scalp. His mom took him to a dermatologist and it is stage IV melanoma. You can never be to cautious.
4. Make sure to wear a hat or head protection. Burned scalps are painful and dangerous. If you’re not wearing a hat, apply sunscreen to the part in your hair to avoid a burn.
5. Wear good sunglasses when you’re outdoors.
6. Always wear shoes. Keep flip flops, slippers or socks with you at all times. If you’re walking outdoors, it’s best to wear shoes with good protection, like sneakers or sandals that have solid support and good soles. As much as I personally love flip-flops and wear them almost every day, they are not the best choice for footwear, just know that. Make sure your children are always wearing shoes, too. I know too many children who’ve suffered terrible injuries, including third-degree burns, on their feet because they went barefoot. Even at the beach, shoes, shoes, shoes!
7. Practice good hygiene always. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your mouth, eyes, and ears. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it often. Remind your children to do the same. Also, clean surfaces, including your phone, laptop keyboards, steering wheel and door handles.
8. If you’re camping our out at a beach or pool, never go barefoot.
9. Be wary of public pools and hot tubs.They are a breeding ground for germs.
10. Get plenty of rest. Our bodies heal and repair while we are sleeping so make sure you’re getting adequate slumber.
11. Get fresh air and move! As much as possible, exercise. Try to take a walk outdoors (maybe in early morning or evening when it’s not as hot and the sun not as strong), work in the yard– anything that gets your heart rate up. Plus, fresh vitamin D is good. Don’t forget to wear good shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!
12. Eat healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies are great options and have incredible health benefits.
13. Have fun! If possible, take a vacation, whether it be big or small. Get lost in a great book, watch a good movie, or explore a new part of town. Make a promise to do at least one new, fun thing with your children this summer.
14. Consider carrying an umbrella with you to protect your from the sun.
15. Stay properly hydrated. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. Limit soda or don’t drink it at all. If you’re getting tired of water, add fresh lemon or lime. Ice Tea is also a great choice.