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Summer Backyard Safety Tips

backyard fun

Your backyard can be a sanctuary in the summer months, especially when you know simple safety tips for around the yard. Here’s how to stay safe outdoors and enjoy a hazard-free summer.

Swimming Pools

It seems like the only way to beat the heat during the summer is to take a dip in a pool. Whether you own one or not, here are some easy guidelines for safe swimming:

  • Build proper fencing around pools.
  • Never leave young children unattended around swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • Enroll children in swimming lessons at a young age.
  • Keep children no more than an arm’s length away when swimming.

Lawn & Garden

Correcting unsafe habits in the yard is easier than weeding your garden. Stay on the safe track with this advice:

  • Wear sturdy shoes when doing yard work; never wear sandals.
  • Clear your work area of debris that can get thrown or caught in lawnmower blades and other equipment.
  • Supervise children during yard work; never let kids put dirt, seeds or plant bulbs in their mouths.
  • Make sure children are away from power equipment and sharp tools.

Play Equipment

Summer is always more fun without casts and crutches. Here are some recommendations for an injury-free summer on the swings:

  • Pad the surface below play equipment with sand, shredded tires or wood chips.
  • Never use wet or damp equipment.
  • Avoid wearing items with hoods and drawstrings that can get caught.
  • Check to see if equipment is cool enough to sit on or touch.

Mosquitoes & Ticks

Just like people, bugs like to spend time outside when the weather warms up. Avoid spending your entire summer scratching bug bites by following this advice:

  • Use bug repellent with DEET on skin and clothing.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding spots by dumping out standing water.
  • Stay inside when mosquitoes are most active at twilight.
  • Check your body for ticks after being in dense brush, woods or fields.

Sun & Heat Exposure

Summer heat and rays from the sun can cause serious heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat camps and heat exhaustion. Know the symptoms of these illnesses and stick to these suggestions:

  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water and sports drinks and avoid drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine.
  • Dress in light colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing on hot days.
  • Take plenty of breaks when exercising outside; choose cooler times of the day to be outdoors.

How Healthy Are the Men In Your Life

men health

June is Men’s Health Month, and we’re celebrating by arming the ladies with tips to use to help encouraging the men in their lives to find a primary care physician (PCP) and to access medical care when needed.

It’s true that many minor illnesses can be safely treated at home (none by rubbing dirt in them, by the way!). But everyone needs a doctor’s care at times.

When to Treat at Home & When to See the Doctor

Share these tips with the men you love to help them decide when to self-treat and when to seek medical care:

Treat at Home

Many minor illnesses can be safely treated at home: a cold, uncomplicated diarrhea, mild stomachaches and headaches, and minor skin rashes and skin fungal infections. You can treat these by getting extra rest and taking appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

These are cases in which you can usually treat yourself:

  • You don’t have a chronic illness or other condition for which you are taking medications
  • You’re not very sick
  • Your symptoms are mild and familiar and haven’t been going on for very long
  • You ask your pharmacist for advice on which OTC medications to take

See a Doctor

You do need a doctor’s care at times, even for everyday health problems.

Times when you should see or speak with a doctor:

  • You have a chronic illness or other condition
  • A cold, the flu or a stomachache that’s getting worse even though you’re resting and taking OTC medicine
  • Unusual symptoms that are painful or worrisome
  • A sinus infection, a bad sore throat with a fever, or other symptoms you think may require antibiotics
  • Diarrhea or constipation for longer than a week, bloody diarrhea, or diarrhea with mucus
  • Joint pain that’s chronic and affects your normal activities, or joint pain along with redness or swelling of the joint
  • Back pain that’s chronic or accompanied by pain that travels down your leg or arm
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and depression lasting for at least two weeks
  • An injury you can’t treat yourself but that’s not an emergency

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, you should always call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital emergency room.

If you decide to see your health care provider, make the most of your visit by giving your doctor a list of your symptoms, including when they began, how they’ve changed and if anything you eat or do makes them worse. This will help your doctor diagnose and treat you appropriately.

Choose a Primary Care Doctor

And if the man or men in your life don’t have a primary care doctor, we can help! Choosing a primary care doctor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Check out these 7 reasons why having a primary care doctor could just save your life.

You can also quickly and easily search for physicians online at Ministry and Affinity.

Sports Hernia: A Common Cause of Groin Pain

Pretty brunette suffering from stomach pain

If you’re an athlete or physically active person, you may have occasional aches and pains. When pain strikes in your lower abdomen or groin, your first thought may be that you’ve pulled a muscle. You try applying heat and ice, reduce your physical activity, and get as much rest as possible. But nothing seems to help.

Perhaps what you have isn’t a “pull” at all, but a tear. Certain professional athletes, as well as some active “weekend athletes,” are susceptible to a sports hernia, also known as athletic pubalgia. While most athletes think they’ve got a pulled groin muscle, they actually may have a tear in the area where the muscles meet the bones of the pelvis.

This type of injury is caused by repeated trauma to the groin area, resulting in muscle and tendons pulling away from the pubic bone. Sports hernias are common among athletes or anyone who participates in sports that involve repetitive twisting and turning while moving, such as soccer, ice hockey, rugby, field hockey, tennis, or track.

The injury isn’t limited to professional athletes, however. Anyone can develop a sports hernia, including people who do a lot of twisting and turning during a workout, or students who participate in high school or college sports. Females are just as susceptible as males.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The major complaint of people with a sports hernia is groin pain, which usually occurs during exercise or other physical activity. The pain may be worse with sudden movements such as sprinting, kicking, side-stepping, sneezing, or coughing.

This is chronic condition that may be misdiagnosed during an initial visit to a primary care physician for groin pain. The physician may recommend rest and applying heat and ice, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. If these don’t relieve symptoms, the physician probably will refer the person to a specialist for further evaluation.

The best way to identify athletic pubalgia is by taking a thorough history and performing a physical exam. An MRI scan can often identify a tear, and a bone scan may reveal inflammation of the pubic bone.

Treatment

Once athletic pubalgia is identified, the tear can be corrected surgically to reattach the muscles to the bone. A few years ago, the only way to repair the tear was to perform an open operation that involved a 5-inch incision in the abdomen and a recovery time of three months.

Today, the procedure can be performed using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery. Laparoscopy uses three ¼-inch incisions to allow insertion of instruments used to visualize muscle damage and perform the repair. To reinforce the repair and make it stronger, a synthetic mesh-like material is used.

Compared to open surgery, laparoscopy results in a much shorter recovery time, less pain and need for pain medication, and minimal scarring. The shorter recovery time is a great help to athletes, who often can’t afford to take a lot of time off from their season.

With the minimally invasive procedure, patients are walking the day of the surgery, with no exercise during the first two weeks. During weeks two to four, they can resume aerobic activity such as biking or jogging. At four weeks, they can start lifting, sprinting, and resume playing their sport.

Open Surgery

Hospital stay–Same day
Pain during recovery—Moderate
Return to work time–4-6 weeks
Cosmetic results–5-inch scar

Laparoscopic Surgery

Hospital stay–Same day
Pain during recovery—Minimal
Return to work time–4-5 Days (full sports in 4 weeks)
Cosmetic results–Three ¼-inch scars

Lifetime Health Tips for Women

young fitness woman runner  running

As women age, their health needs change. Staying active and tailoring food intake to keep up with your changing body can help minimize unwanted weight gain and energy loss and possibly keep chronic diseases in check.

Follow these helpful tips for women’s wellness in each stage of adulthood.

Early 20s

Lower your chances of getting osteoporosis later by consuming more calcium now. Keep your bones strong by eating two to three servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Great choices are nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. One serving of milk or yogurt is 8 ounces or 1 cup; one serving of cheese is 1½ ounces.

Late 20s

One of the most important things women can do at this stage is to consume the recommended daily 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid, especially if you are planning a pregnancy. Folic acid is an essential B vitamin that protects babies in the womb from serious birth defects. Good sources of folate include green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, folic acid-fortified bread and cereal, and supplements.

Your 30s

A woman’s metabolism slows between 2 and 8 percent every decade, which means a 35-year-old woman needs 100 fewer calories a day than she did 10 years ago. To keep your weight steady, you will need to exercise more and eat less. It is important to remember that although you need to reduce your food intake, your body still needs nutrients. So, you may need to examine your diet and cut back on empty calories (soda, fast foods, fatty snacks) and eat more nutritious foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grains).

Your 40s and Beyond

As women age, muscle mass slowly begins to deteriorate and is replaced with fat. The best way to prevent age-related muscle loss is to make strength training and weight-bearing exercise a priority. Experts recommend that women over 40 do strength training exercises, including weight or resistance training, at least twice a week, and weight bearing aerobic exercises, including swimming, walking, and dancing, at least five times a week.

One of the best things for women’s health

At any age, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. The key to staying active is finding something you enjoy that fits into your daily schedule. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do – inline skating, running, walking, dancing, household chores, or gardening – as long as you do it regularly.

Experts recommend that you do 30 minutes or more of physical activity a day, at least five times a week. The benefits of exercise are manifold. Exercise promotes weight control, improves your strength and flexibility, lowers your risk of heart disease, helps control blood pressure and diabetes, relieves stress, and improves your mood and the way you feel about yourself.  And what woman wouldn’t like more of that?

When Medications & Sunshine Don’t Mix

sunsafety

One of the most common side effects of medications is an increased risk of photosensitivity, or sensitivity to sunlight. This is caused when Ultraviolet (UV) light rays activate certain photosensitizing elements within the medication. These elements then emit energy that can damage adjacent skin tissue.

People experiencing photosensitivity due to medications generally experience a burning and stinging sensation to the skin followed by intensified redness. The range of damage on sun-exposed skin can range from a slight redness to a blistering rash.

If you are taking a medication that states photosensitivity as a potential side effect, be sure to avoid direct exposure from natural sunlight as well as tanning beds. Wear sun-protective clothing when going outdoors and use a UV-A and UV-B combination sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

There are many common prescriptions that cause photosensitivity. Some of the most common medications include:

  • Antibiotics such as Tetracyclines or Sulfonamides
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen
  • Antidepressants including citalopram, bupropion and fluoxetine
  • Blood pressure lowering medications such as Lisinopril, labetolol, hydralazine and other diuretics
  • Medications designed to lower blood sugar including glimepiride, glyburide and glipizide
  • Anti-fungals such as ketoconazole and griseofulvin
  • Medications used for sleep, seizures and mental health including alprazolam, quetiapine, zolpidem and gabapentin
  • Dietary supplements such as St. John’s wort and Vitamin A
  • Many more groups including cholesterol lowing medications and estrogens

Whenever you are taking a prescribed medication, be sure to pay attention to potential side effects.

If a mild reaction occurs, topical remedies such as cool wet dressings, anti-itch creams and corticosteroid creams can help. If symptoms continue, be sure to check in with your prescribing physician.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.