5 Ways to Avoid the Health Hazards of Summer

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I just read an article that said experts are predicting a worse than usual mosquito season this year. That got me thinking about growing up in Georgia, where hot summer days meant no school, plenty of daylight, fresh peaches from roadside stands, and sleeping out on the back porch to stay cool. Plus, those giant mosquitoes of the south!

But mosquitoes aren’t the only thing that can tax your health—and your patience—during the summer months. So, I thought I would give you my summer survival tips a bit early this year and let you get ahead of the curve to enjoy the season with ease.

Tip #1: Drink lots of water. I urge you to drink eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water every day—and during the hot days of summer you need to drink even more. That’s because hot weather doubles, or triples, our normal fluid losses. Keep a bottle of filtered water with you at all times and get into the habit of drinking water before you feel thirsty, since thirst is actually a sign that dehydration has already set in.

Tip #2: Repel mosquitoes with vitamin B1. For mosquitoes, vitamin B-1 (thiamine hydrochloride) may do the trick. In 1943, Dr. Ray Shannon from St. Paul, Minnesota, reported on 10 dramatic cases of resistance to mosquitoes from taking vitamin B-1 by mouth. In one gentleman who was constantly ravaged by mosquitoes while trout fishing, the vitamin allowed him to return home without a single bite, while his fishing companions were covered with welts. I recommend 100 mg daily, in divided doses.

Tip #3: Ease the sting and itching of bug bites with toothpaste. Did you know that one of the most effective, natural ways to reduce the discomfort of an insect bite is to dab the affected area with toothpaste? The alkalinity of the baking soda in most brands of toothpaste relieves itching, and the antibacterial components prevent infection. Just spread a thick layer of toothpaste over bites and let it dry. Take a small tube with you to your outdoor events, just in case you need it.

Tip #4: Wear yellow-tinted sunglasses. Yellow, amber, or orange sunglasses best protect your eyes from the summer sun. These colors do a better job of filtering out UV and blue wavelengths of light that can be harmful to your retina.

Tip #5: Limit your time outdoors on days when air quality is poor. It’s a good idea to avoid air pollution whenever you can, however, hot weather may make air pollution even more dangerous. The pairing of these two elements has the potential to increase risk of stroke by about 50 percent! Your best bet is to stay indoors on hot days when air quality is poor.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a tip for weathering the health challenges of summer?

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