Summer means outdoor activities, longer days, and hot, humid weather. It can also mean heat-related illness, skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays, and increased drowning risk. Remind your patients to stay hydrated, protect their skin from the sun, and follow pool safety recommendations. Resources from the AAFP can help with these conversations.
Whenever they’re active outdoors during the summer, it’s important for your patients to take precautions to stay cool and hydrated. Use the following handouts from familydoctor.org to review the body’s warning signs and offer tips to prevent heat-related illnesses and dehydration.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and one in five Americans will develop it in their lifetime. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun and from indoor tanning equipment is a key preventable risk factor for skin cancer, so now is the time to help your patients understand the dangers of exposure and how to protect their skin. In particular, the AAFP recommends counseling children, adolescents, and young adults ages 10 to 24 years who have fair skin about minimizing their exposure to UV radiation.
Most drowning deaths in children younger than 14 years of age occur in the months from May through August. On average, 390 children younger than 14 years of age drown in pools and spas each year, and 75% of these deaths occur in a residential pool or spa. The AAFP’s Residential Pool Safety Policy supports safety measures that can save lives. Other AAFP resources on preventing drowning in children include the following:
Help your patients understand the importance of vaccinations as they participate in summer activities such as summer camp, sporting events, youth programs, and vacations, especially during any outbreak, like measles.
Talk about using the summer months to ensure children are fully vaccinated before the school year begins.
More than 20 million children rely on free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year. Some of your patients may be among them. During the summer, these children are at risk of getting inadequate nutrition or going hungry.
Fortunately, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is available to bridge the nutrition gap from one school year to the next. The SFSP provides free, nutritious meals and snacks during the summer so that children from low-income families can continue to learn, play, and grow. The AAFP is one of the supporters of this program, in partnership with the National Dairy Council.