I grew 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!
Speaking of mosquitoes, there’s no doubt they are among several woes that can tax your health—and your patience—during the summer months. With that in mind, I wanted to share a suggestion on how to naturally ward off mosquitoes, along with my other summer survival tips so you can enjoy the season with ease.
Summer Survival Tip #1: Repel Mosquitoes With Vitamin B1
To repel mosquitoes naturally, vitamin B1 (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 B1 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.
Summer Survival Tip #2: Ease Discomfort of Bug Bites With Toothpaste
If you happen to end up with a bug bite or sting, one of the most effective, natural ways to reduce the discomfort of an insect bite or sting 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.
Summer Survival Tip #3: 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.
Summer Survival Tip #4: Be Smart About Sun Exposure
With a little common sense and added protection, you can get the most out of the summer sun and not worry about sacrificing your health. For starters, avoid prolonged time in the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. You should also make a point to eat more foods that are rich in carotenoids, which act as “internal sunscreen” as they accumulate in the skin. This should be easy since most summer fruits and vegetables are teeming with these phytonutrients.
Summer Survival Tip #5: 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.
Summer Survival Tip #6: Use Smart Grilling Techniques
When hosting a picnic or barbecue, do your loved ones a favor and be sure to follow smart grilling techniques. This will ensure you aren’t serving up more than you—or they—bargained for.
Summer Survival Tip #7: Limit Time Outdoors 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?