Summer-time Health

Summer is in full swing here in Western Massachusetts, and so is the sun and all sorts of insects.  We are talking about mosquitos, UV rays, and ticks; all of which can affect our health in negative ways.  Here at Atkinson Family Practice, we want to let you know about the effects of all of these effects along with preventative ways to keep you and your loved ones safe.  

Insect bites can come with many side-effects including itching and in some cases insect-transmitted diseases such as the west-nile virus.  The American Academy of Pediatrics came up with some ways to mitigate the effects of insect bites.  One of the suggestions is avoiding areas where insects nest or congregate.  This includes pools of water, uncovered foods, high grass areas, and gardens where flowers are blooming. 

Always use bug repellent in which includes DEET for children two months or older when outside.  The more DEET in bug repellent, the longer it will last. For example, bug repellent with 10% DEET will last two hours and 30% DEET will last five hours.  According to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University; DEET is a type of bug repellant which is a colorless liquid that has a faint scent to it.  It was first used by the U.S. Army in 1946 to protect soldiers in insect-infested areas overseas during World War II.

The sun is also an issue in the summer in which can come with other negative issues. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, UV Radiation can cause skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts, other eye damage, and immune system suppression.  The AAP suggests using a combination of bug repellent and sunscreen. Sunscreen should also be reapplied every two hours while outdoors.

Atkinson Family Practice wants everyone to have a safe and healthy summer.  We hope everyone uses these quick tips to make sure that insects and UV rays don’t affect your health while enjoying the summer months.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your primary care provider. For AFP patients, contact 413-549-8400 to talk with a member of our nursing staff.

 -written by Alex LaMarche

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