Summertime is fast approaching us and for most, the summer season comes along with lots of outdoor activity, travel, and adventures with friends and family. And while the warm weather and sunshine are what makes this all possible, it is also this deceptively perfect weather that sometimes tricks us into making careless health decisions that lead to the dreaded summertime cold or sickness that we never would have expected. Just because it’s nice out and you don’t feel cold, doesn’t mean your immune system is invincible. So before you go swimming in that lukewarm lake, or go camping with nothing but a tent and some hotdogs from Costco’s, remember these five tips to keep your immune system healthy this summer:
Drink Lots of Water
One of the first culprits for poor immune health is dehydration. This is also true for stomach and headaches, dizziness, and hunger – so first and foremost, drink water. And in the summer, when the sun is beating down on you and you’re sweating like a hog, water will be your best friend. Aim to drink at least 6 glasses of water a day, more if you’re doing very strenuous physical activity.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s tempting to throw caution to the wind on a beautiful summer night and party all night, especially if you’re on vacation or at a special event or on the beach with your besties. But if you do decide to pull that all-nighter, remember to catch up on your sleep soon after to help your body recover and re-charge. Not getting a solid night’s sleep is a surefire way to weaken the immune system, causing your body to act out in all sorts of ways, including but not limited to a slowed metabolism, sluggishness, and heightened vulnerability to colds and sickness.
Taking vitamins is a great idea year-round, but it is also really great in the summer months when you’re likely to do more physically demanding activities, travel, and come into contact with all kinds of environmental influences (hello dirt and bugs). Also, while there are many varieties of vitamins on the market specially made for different health issues and for different ages and body needs, they all will be able to positively affect your immune system to prevent sickness in the summer. So do yourself a favor and get some vitamins.
Sure, ice cream and frozen yogurt seem to be their own food group during the sweltering days of summer, but they’re not exactly going to fortify your body with the energy and nutrients it’ll need throughout the summer. As tempting as it is to live off BBQ burgers and ice cream, make sure you balance your summer diet out with some fruits and vegetables, just like you would any other time of year. Besides, eating right will help you maintain that beach body as well, so remember to eat smart.
Limit Sun Exposure
This is a less obvious tip that many people might not realize and that is that too much sun is extremely harmful to your immune and bodily health, and not just to your skin. When you spend too much uninterrupted time in the sun, particularly when it’s at its peak height and hotness in the middle of the day, you risk not only getting a serious sunburn but also suffering from sun poisoning, or solar toxicity, and heat exhaustion, which cause symptoms such as body aches, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. So remember to pack a large umbrella, or take breaks throughout your day at the beach to make sure you prevent any of these effects of overexposure.
Summertime is a favorite time of the year for good reason. For kids, school is out and life is carefree, and for adults, it’s finally time to put away the jackets and break out the grill, and to take that extended beach weekend getaway with friends and family. The very last thing that you would want to happen is to get sick in the summer, pulling you away from all of the fun. But by remembering these few tips on how to keep your immune system healthy during the summer months, you have a fighting chance to hold on to every summer moment.