Summer Sickness



Beach trips. Mountain hikes. Endless party nights.

No school. Tan lines are cool. Time to get a dip at the pool. It’s that time of the year again. It’s su-su-summer! Yup, almost everyone’s favorite time of the year where you don’t have to worry about school, when you can just lounge at the beach, enjoying your pina colada while basking under the sun. It’s all about fun, fun, fun under the sun… not! Despite feeling all invincible and free, there are varieties of summer sickness that might hit you.


Sure, swimming in the ocean and/or lake sounds like a good idea in this heat. But have you stopped to consider how gross water can be?

By swimming in the ocean, a stream or a lake, you will probably end up swallowing some, which will then put you at risk of exposure to enteroviruses—spread by fecal contamination in water. Once one family member has it, it can spread easily to the entire household.

Symptoms range from common cold issues to an infection of the heart or brain. Enterovirus is usually not a big deal but if you’re pregnant or nursing and you may have been exposed, talk to your doctor right away.

Asthma attacks

                With all the smog and air pollution, higher pollen levels and increased mold growth due to high humidity, you might want to watch out as they can cause a spike in asthma attacks, according to Dr. Adam Vella, assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

                For people who are prone to asthma attacks, they are advised to continue taking their daily controller medications throughout the summer and keep a close eye on pollen and air pollution levels. If levels are high, it may be best to stay indoors, in air conditioning, if possible,” Vella said.


                Again, beware of dirty water as e-coli, which is found in sewage-contaminated water, causes incredible digestive upset that can lead to dehydration and coinciding complications

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

                This is spread by ticks and can be fatal; symptoms often show up between 2-14 days after being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms include: fever, summer rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and red eyes. Despite its name, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is not restricted to the Rocky Mountains and is most common in Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

                In order to avoid getting it, it’s best that you check for ticks as soon as you return home from any outing in an environment with trees or tall grass.

Whooping cough

                Kids being sent to experience summer camp seems like a great idea, eh? Well, yes. But wait, you might want to know first that whooping cough is commonly spread at summer camp. For prevention, vaccination and good hygiene are keys. It’s also best to remind children proper handwashing and to do it often. And oh, no kissing at camp!

Food poisoning

                With the weather hotter than Ashton Kutcher and Ryan Gosling combined, it’s no surprise that even food is affected. When food is left out in the heat for an extended period of time, bacteria grows. Food poisoning is said to be more prevalent during the summer since the microorganisms that cause it grow most quickly when the temperature is between 90 and 100 degrees. It’s best that you monitor the temperature of your food, put things away promptly and when in doubt, don’t consume it!


                Again, this heat. Ugh!

Hyperthermia is a group of heat-related illnesses which ranges from heat exhaustion to heat stroke and happens when the body overheats. Older adults are more susceptible to hyperthermia, due to the fact that people lose some of their ability to dissipate heat as they age. Also, chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, poor circulation and obesity can also hinder a person’s ability to cool down as well as certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, heart disease and depression can diminish an older person’s ability to respond to heat.

To avoid this, one must avoid exerting yourself outdoors during the hottest hours of the day, and seek air conditioning on hot days, many communities set up local cooling centers and drink eight to nine glasses of water a day.

Lyme Disease

                Another disease spread by ticks and is the most common insect-borne disease in the U.S., lyme disease peaks during the summer months when people are exposed to ticks in yards and woods. Symptoms are similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and early treatment is necessary to prevent the disease from spreading to the nervous system, joints and heart.

                You can also prevent tick bites by using a repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET on exposed skin, and one that contains the insecticide permethrin on clothing. Furthermore, make it a point to always conduct a full-body tick check after coming in from a wooded or bushy area.


Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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