‘I’m an MD, and These Are the Unexpected Summer Health Hiccups You Should Know About’

Photo: Well+Good Creative
You spend most of the winter as a self-proclaimed walking pharmacy, prepped for whatever the chilly wind might blow in. Chapped lips? A hint of a cold? You’re on the lookout and ready. But when summer comes, a pared-down tote with your emotional support water bottle and some SPF is more your speed.

Yes, hydration, sun protection, and a relaxed attitude are total summer wellness staples—and no, you don't need full pharmacy status for every beach day or BBQ. But one thing that might help? This extra insight from an MD about the surprisingly common issues the season can throw your way.

"We all want to have a safe and healthy summer, but sometimes summer health hiccups can happen," says Karla Robinson, MD, a board-certified family physician and medical editor at GoodRx, the online resource dedicated to making health care affordable and convenient for all Americans. On top of the heat, "Many people are also participating in more outdoor activities, and may be more active in general, which can also contribute to other health concerns we see in the summer months.”

Those factors can play out in a variety of ways, from swollen feet to sunburns—but whatever pops up, Dr. Robinson recommends GoodRx Health as the go-to destination for trusted intel on health questions, so you can get back on your feet faster. The team of doctors, pharmacists, and health-care experts can help you sift through all the info out there (because let's face it, health care is complex). "Whether you are looking to save money on prescriptions or want to speak directly with a provider via GoodRx Care, we can help," she says.

Below, find out more about the surprisingly common health concerns to keep on your radar as you bounce from paddleboard to picnic (with GoodRx Health in your back pocket). And remember: "It’s important to listen to your body," says Dr. Robinson. "If you have a new symptom that worries you, make sure to discuss your concerns with your health-care provider."

Scroll down to learn more about summer’s unexpected health concerns, according to an MD.

1. Food-Borne Illness

Whether it’s a garden party or a backyard barbecue, you live for an al fresco summer meal. Here's the thing: Foods that are typically chilled, raw, or partially cooked—like meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products—are susceptible to rapid bacteria growth when exposed to heat and humidity, says Dr. Robinson. And those conditions may lead to food-borne illnesses like salmonella. The easy fix? Keep a chilly cooler handy and be sure to store leftovers within one hour of serving.

2. Nosebleeds

Blame it on your sky-high seats at the baseball game—or just the season’s hot, dry air. “There may also be an increase in environmental allergens or pollutants in the summertime," adds Dr. Robinson. "These changes in the environment can irritate the lining of your nose."

To help prevent nosebleeds, she recommends using saline spray twice a day to keep nasal passages moist. And one more pro tip: “Most people think you should tilt your head back to stop your nosebleed," Dr. Robinson says. "It’s actually best to sit upright, but lean your head forward. This keeps the blood from going down the airway or into the stomach.”

3. Athlete's Foot

Summer heat brings sweaty feet. “Heat and moisture promote the growth of fungus that can lead to athlete’s foot,” says Dr. Robinson. The infection, which is commonly spread at pools, showers, and locker rooms, is easy to avoid. “Wearing shoes and socks that allow your feet to breathe and remain cool and dry can help. Make sure to dry your feet and toes well after sweating or showering.” Give your waterproof sandals a daily wash with soap and water, too.

4. Yeast Infections

And speaking of heat and moisture, be sure to give some TLC down there. High temps, humidity, and hours spent in your bathing suit can lead to an overgrowth of yeast and cause discomfort in the vaginal area. “You definitely want to avoid tight clothing and fabrics that may trap sweat and heat,” Dr. Robinson recommends. “Instead, choose loose-fitting, breathable fabrics that keep you cool. If over-the-counter medications don’t work for your symptoms, contact a health-care provider.” Yes, that's yet another point for flowy pants.

Got more questions? Check out GoodRx Health for more health info this summer and beyond.

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