Spring is a time for rejuvenation and the outdoors, as most of us spend a major portion of the winter cooped indoors. After the harsh weather of winter, spring may appear to be a season of frivolity and light heartedness, but taking your health and safety too casually can come at a price. While spring is much easier on your body, the renewed outdoor activities can put us at risk of other conditions and health concerns.
Most of these however, can be treated easily, and more importantly, be prevented with some simple practices and cautions.
Health issues that afflict us generally include sunburn and other sun exposure related conditions like sun tan, sun poisoning, heat strokes, and dehydration. Insect bites and stings from insects like bees and wasps are also extremely common as are the dreaded chiggers.
Rashes and allergic reactions from plants and weeds found naturally, like poison ivy are another common concern. Injuries stemming from physical activities, whether swimming or trekking, or simply a sports activity, are also a source of worry. What strikes you in this list is that all of these issues stem from outdoor activities and interactions with nature.
All of our spring health concerns are connected to and influenced by environmental factors, so following some simple precautionary measures would suffice as protection before you venture outdoors.
Sunburn, sun poisoning and sun tan are possibly the most widespread concerns, afflicting almost all of us. These are also the most easily preventable. Sunscreen lotions are an effective precaution, so make it a point to apply one every time you venture out. The recommended Sun Protection Factor or SPF in any such product is at least fifteen.
Dress appropriately. Try to wear clothes that cover most of as much skin as possible, protecting it from exposure You can also use special sun protective clothing, as these cloths employ designs and fabrics aimed at maximizing protection from UV radiation.
You can also try to avoid venturing out during the noon hours when radiation intensity is at its peak, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Heat strokes and dehydration are very real threats and can be easily averted. Make it a point to carry a bottle of water with you whenever you’re outdoors.
Drink a lot of water regularly and add a lot of fruit juices to your diet. Consuming fruits with a high water content like grapes and melons will also help minimize the risk of dehydration.
Insect Bites and Stings
The clothing you wear can also offer protection from insect bites and stings Clothes that fit well and are not too loose will prevent insects from getting into and getting trapped within. When in areas cover with dense foliage wearing boots can also help Clothes that cover a greater area of skin, like long sleeves shirts, offer greater protection.
Always use insect repellants when venturing out. These are best applied on your clothes, but mild ones can also be used on the skin Most of these do not work against stinging insects however. A mixture of mint oil and rubbing alcohol works as a natural repellent.
As a precaution against bee or wasp stings avoid using scented soaps, lotions and perfumes. Do not wear bright or floral prints and rough fabrics like wool All of these attract stinging insects.
Rashes and Allergies
To prevent rashes and allergic reactions from plants like poison ivy and poison oak it would be best to learn to identify the plants, so that they can be avoided.
Restrict your movements to cleared pathways and make sure your pets don’t run off into wooded areas either as residue from plants can be transferred via their fur.
Pitch your tent in area free off and safe from such weeds.
Clothes also offer protection, but make sure you wash any clothing or other items thoroughly if contaminated.
Barrier creams will also help prevent or lessen the effects or reaction.
If you suffer from allergies, whether plants or insects, always carry an allergy kit with you, and as far as possible avoid areas likely to increase exposure to the allergens.
Injuries resulting from sports activities or any other activity are for the most part unavoidable. Serious injuries can be averted if you do not indulge in rash or careless behavior.
Always carry a first aid kit, as a precautionary measure against any injury.
Make sure you carry a map and are well informed about medical facilities in an area before making any excursions.
Following these simple tips will make your nature trips and activities a lot more pleasurable, enabling you to actually exploit and enjoy this spring.
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