There are six simple steps to help enjoy the summer season.
First, don’t get poison ivy. This is actually easier than commonly realized. The most successful strategy is avoidance of this troublesome 3-leaf vine and any unidentifiable roots, especially those ascending tree trunks. If there is any chance you’ve come into contact with it, douse the skin with hydrogen peroxide and then take a lukewarm shower. H2O2 is one of the few commonly available items that can break down urushiol, the culprit ingredient in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Second, take care of those allergies. Fortunately, effective substances like certrizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin and Alavert) are available without a prescription. It is best to take them as soon as you recognize your allergies are flaring
Pamper your ears. Pouring half a capful of rubbing alcohol into your ear canal after swimming effectively promotes water evaporation and markedly decreases the risk of “swimmer’s ear.” Instilling hydrogen peroxide into ear canals and allowing it to dwell there for several minutes is a great way to dissolve wax. Noise blocking headphones should be used when mowing the lawn, weed-whacking, etc., in order to limit damage to your middle ear.
Avoid Dehydration. Most people realize you need to drink more when the weather is warm. But filling up with diuretic-type fluids, which include anything with caffeine or alcohol, and even lemon to a lesser extent, can result in a net loss of body fluid. Try alternating your beverage of choice with glasses of water. (This is kinder on your wallet and your waistline, too.)
Prevent food poisoning. After grocery shopping, be sure to keep cold items cold on the trip home. When its time to defrost foods, overnight de-thawing in the fridge is far preferable to leaving frozen foods in a warm room. Be extremely careful to make sure plates, utensils or cutting boards that have come in contact with raw meat are immediately washed or set aside so that no cooked food is contaminated by them. Wash greens and fruits well before serving, even if labeled “prewashed.” Remember, most prepared food has to be either hot or cold, not room temperature, to be safe. Keep macaroni and potato salads, for example, on ice, and use chafing dishes to maintain the temperature of hot foods. And be sure to put food away directly after the meal!
Lastly, don’t get sunburn. Get into the habit of applying an SPF 15 or greater every morning. Keep lotions next to kitchen and bathrooms sinks, so it can be reapplied after washing the hands. Try to stay in the shade between 10am and 2pm. Hats are the unsung heroes of facial protection—use them! And if you do get burned, cool water and anti-inflammatory (like Advil) can limit your discomfort until you heal.
This article is sponsored by a generous donation from M&S of Pawling. http://www.mandsofpawling.com/