How does affectionate touch benefit relationships? Brett Jakubiak, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, looks at whether affectionate touch can help people maintain intimacy and offer responsive social support. Jakubiak focuses on interpersonal support processes…
Keep Safety in Your Summer Fun
Summer! The best time of year—play time, vacation and easier schedules for most of us. But in among all that recreation, keep an eye out for safety, so you can keep the fun coming.
First and foremost, experts agree, get vaccinated to keep COVID-19 at bay. That and a mask can protect not just you, but those around you, those you hold dear.
Summer is a great time to get active. We talked with LeeAnne Lane, RN, nurse manager at the Barnes Center at The Arch, looking for her advice on keeping summer activities safe. Lane oversees the health clinic, nursing and laboratory staff. She joined Syracuse University in 2013 and shared from her wealth of experience working with students, faculty and staff at the University. Suggestions and precautions follow in abundance.
Get active, eat better, improve your cardio and lose weight. While you’re at it, wear good shoes to keep those busy feet happy. Comfortable sneakers give support and are good for endurance. Avoid sandals, flip-flops, twisted ankles and blisters.
With all kinds of activity, hydration is important. Drink water, avoid caffeine. Think eight to 10 glasses of liquids per day. That’s 64 to 80 ounces. When it’s hot, or when you are exercising or not feeling well, drink more. Remember, hydration is important for our pets too. Offer a bowl of fresh cool water to furry four legged friends.
It’s easy to eat better when you think in terms of colors. “Eat the rainbow,” they say. Fresh fruits and vegetables make great meals and great snacks.
Family Backyard Fun
Bring along the family to get more active. Even simple games like cornhole, frisbee or badminton will get the gang moving. Go for a swim in your own pool or hit the beach in a day trip. To stay close to home, if you’d like, just go for a family walk together.
Dress appropriately for the weather: light clothing—light colored, light weight and loose fitting—works best.
When you bike with the family, wear your helmets. Kids on scooters? Helmets for certain and likely elbow, knee and wrist guards too.
Staying Alive—Too Much Sun
Awareness is key to preventing this setback to summer fun. Hazards include sunburn, heat exhaustion and most severe of all, heat stroke. Heat stroke poses a life-threatening emergency if not recognized or if left untreated. It requires immediate and significant response and medical attention, possibly even administering intravenous fluids.
During hot humid weather, avoid dehydration, excess alcohol consumption or strenuous exercise. Watch carefully with younger children or older people who cope more poorly with the heat.
With heat stroke, your core body temperature is rising dangerously, and a headache could advance into confusion, agitation and delirium. Flushed or clammy skin with nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps can accompany rapid shallow breathing and a fast heartbeat. Seek immediate medical help at a hospital or urgent care facility. Or call 911 and immediately begin to cool the affected person. Find air conditioning or cool shade and remove unnecessary clothing. Apply ice packs to the neck, armpits and groin.
For heat exhaustion, symptoms include nausea, fatigue and lightheadedness. Seek shade, give fluids to drink, lower temperatures inside and out, move into air conditioning or under a fan with cool compresses or damp cool washcloths. You could get into a cool bath, but not an ice-cold bath. Applying ice packs to the back of the neck or under the armpits will help.
If your house is too hot you may be better off in shade out of doors.
Sunburn, even though less serious, can put you at a greater risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke and possibly skin cancer later in life. First, get out of the sun to avoid any more overexposure. With mild to moderate sunburn, there is redness and inflammation which takes some time to develop after exposure. In more severe cases, blistering and peeling may develop, or skin may look white or feel numb. With blisters, especially over a large area, it’s time to call the doctor. For minor sunburn, take anti-inflammatories, rehydrate and treat the symptoms at home. Take a cool bath or cold shower, drink fluids, apply aloe gel or mild moisturizing lotion over the affected area.
Walkin’ the Wild Side
When you’re walking trails in the woods, go prepared. Take a map, take a compass. Even if you’re not planning to stay in the woods overnight, that sometimes happens.
Try to stay in the center of your trail, away from vegetation along the edges. Use insect repellent on exposed skin, wear long sleeves and long pants and tuck your pants legs into your socks. On your way home from that walk, check yourself for ticks before you go inside. Most ticks in this area are small and dark, although there is some color and size variation. Look at the edges of your clothing, the cuffs of your socks, the hem of your pants, all around your sneakers. Check your hairline and behind your ears.
If you find a tick attached, it’s better to have your doctor remove it completely. The goal is to not leave behind the tick’s head or mouth parts. Be aware that Lyme disease, widely prevalent in this area, is not the only tick-borne danger. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information.
And check your pets too. Pets have similar vulnerabilities to those pesky pests.
Poison Ivy, Bites and Stings
Poison ivy typically grows as a low, three-leafed shrub or climbing vine that favors disturbed soil. Watch where you walk and what you touch. Don’t brush by too closely, it’s an oil that carries the irritant. Your touch can transfer the oil to your skin and cause an allergic outbreak.
Weeding the garden, wear gloves and don’t touch your face! If picnicking, sit on a blanket, then fold it ground side together to prevent accidental exposure. The offending oil can even linger on your pet’s fur—run your hands over the fur and transfer the irritant to your own skin.
If you suspect poison ivy exposure, when you get home from your outing shower with soap and water and launder your clothing. Home remedies are mostly effective for relieving symptoms. See a doctor if you have a severe allergy, blisters that get infected or develop difficulty breathing.
About bites: most spiders in this area are not venomous so that’s a worry you can mostly skip. If you do get bitten by a spider, or an insect like an ant, treat for comfort. Ice packs and antihistamines are in order.
Horsefly bites and deer fly bites can be quite painful but aren’t usually severely harmful. Clean the bite and apply an ice pack for up to 10 minutes.
If an allergic reaction were to occur shortly after a bite, you’d notice a tickle in your throat, shortness of breath and a tight cough. In that case see a doctor immediately.
Stings are a different matter. Some people are highly allergic and may carry epinephrine in a bee sting kit just in case they need to treat anaphylaxis after a sting. For some people, their reaction to a second sting could be much more severe than their first.
Bee stings, quick and painful, can occasionally leave the stinger behind, stuck in your skin. If that happens remove the stinger quickly by scraping the edge of a credit card across it, or your fingernail.
With mild reactions, expect redness, swelling and a sharp pain where stung, abating within a few hours. Moderate reactions have more extreme redness and swelling that gradually increases over a few days. Severe reactions can be life-threatening and need emergency treatment.
Multiple stings could create more problems than a single sting. See a doctor soon. For just a single sting, clean the area and treat for comfort. Apply an ice pack or cold compress. Also, consider taking over-the-counter pain medication or an antihistamine. Apply hydrocortisone cream.
One home remedy that usually works is to mix a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting site. Cover with a bandage and keep it on 15 minutes. The baking soda paste can be reapplied.
Gloomy Weather? Don’t Despair
When poor weather dampens your enthusiasm for outdoor fun, try a little variety indoors. The Barnes Center at The Arch and other University facilities offer many opportunities for recreation. So instead of puddle jumping on a rainy day, you might climb a rock wall, soak in a spa, play e-sports or ice skate.
Most importantly of all, this summer, get out there and enjoy these brief bright days. Make memories to carry you through the next cool dark months till we swing around the sun again to the summer side.