Three Common Summertime Illnesses and Injuries

Dr. Jack Cornwell, medical director at CareWell Urgent Care, weighs in on how to avoid these familiar mishaps so you can enjoy your summer.


From camping trips and pool parties to family cookouts, there are limitless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors now that the weather has warmed up. However, one drawback to spending more time outdoors this summer is that everyone else will be doing the same thing. Not only does increased contact expose you to more germs, but it may result in mishaps that leave you in pain. Here are three common summertime illnesses and injuries to avoid so you can enjoy your summer.


Food Poisoning

What says summer more than breaking out the grill and throwing some juicy steaks on for a delicious cookout? Unfortunately, food contamination is high in the summer, especially when higher temperatures can warm uncooked meats into the "danger zone" of temperatures where bacteria thrive.

When you are ready to start cooking, make sure you keep the items and surfaces you are using clean. Keeping food out in a buffet style while you eat dinner might look nice, but can also cause bacteria growth. If you can, use warming trays and slow cookers to keep foods hot, and set cold foods in ice.

Symptoms and signs of food poisoning may start within hours after eating the contaminated food. Sometimes they may begin days or even weeks later. Common signs include nausea, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Food poisoning can last from a few hours to several days.


Joint Sprains

Now that the sun doesn't set until well past six or 7 o'clock, you have the chance to make the most of your days outdoors. Whether you're jogging your favorite trail or walking a new one for the first time, there's nothing quite like the feeling of being out in nature.

Proper, supportive footwear is essential to avoid turning your pleasant hike into a trip to your nearest urgent care center. A boot that comes up high enough to cover the ankle, as well as one that features a supportive insole are the best choice to alleviate the strain that long walks on rough trails put on the arches of your feet.

Why? Because joint sprains are some of the most common hiking injuries. Slipping on a stray root or a rock in your path usually isn't going to send you tumbling, but it could tweak the ankle you have to walk on for the rest of the day. Even if your ankle makes it through intact, the sudden torsion could travel up your leg to wreak havoc on your knees or hips. 



Whether you've got an olive complexion or are so fair-skinned that you need a hat and sunglasses whenever you leave the house, everybody needs to take special precautions against skin damage from sunburns to heavy tans. 

You should choose sunscreen that protects from UVA and UVB rays, has a SPF of 30 or higher and is water resistant. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin and protect your lips with a lip balm of at least SPF 15. In addition, you should apply sunscreen generously about 15 minutes before you go outside. And remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessively sweating.

The average sunburn follows a fairly predictable path: four to eight hours after exposure the burn will begin to develop, peaking between one and two days after the incident. For many people, the only course of action is to apply makeup and wait out the pain as best they can.

If you've developed blisters, a high fever that won't break, or you've irritated the burn to the point of a potential infection, it's time to head to your local urgent care center. They will treat your sunburn with a more scientific approach than just aloe vera gel and a glass of water.

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