Your burning summer health questions answered
We like to think we're pretty good at digging up responses to some of your burning health care questions, but some responses are best left to the pros. Which is why, after taking to the streets, we contacted Amy Arbogast, a CVS pharmacist supervisor in Indianapolis, Indiana, to get answers to your must-know summer health questions.
Sun protection question
"How can I protect myself from sunburn? What's the best way to treat one if it's already happened?"
- Lindsay, 28
Amy Arbogast: Sunscreen is important because it protects you from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause sunburn and may eventually lead to skin cancer. Use sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher that contains both UVA and UVB protection. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection from sunburn caused from UV rays. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before initial sun exposure to allow your skin to absorb the sunscreen. If you're out in the sun for a prolonged period of time, wear a wide-brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen every two hours.
If sunburn has already occurred, there are ways to relieve the discomfort. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, may help to reduce pain. Try taking a cool shower or bath or placing a wet, cold towel on the burn. If you have blisters, do not break them; applying dry bandages may help prevent infection. If your skin is not blistering, aloe vera lotion or a moisturizing cream may be applied to the burn.
Treating the feet
"Every summer, I spend a lot of time at public pools. How can I prevent athlete's foot or warts?"
– Linda, 34
Amy Arbogast: To prevent athlete's foot, wear sandals or flip flops at public pools and dry your feet thoroughly after swimming. If you are susceptible to getting athlete's foot, or you're spending a lot of time at the pool, using an antifungal powder may help to prevent an infection.
Dealing with yeasty beasties
"I've developed a yeast infection as a result of sitting around in a wet bathing suit. How can I treat it quickly?" – Christina, 32
Amy Arbogast: If this is the first time that you've had a yeast infection, or if you are unsure if you have one, you should visit your health care provider for treatment. If you are certain that you have a yeast infection, you can treat it with over-the-counter medications available at your pharmacy. These treatments are available in either vaginal creams or suppositories. Follow the package directions and finish the entire treatment, even if you start to get better. If your symptoms don't go away or you develop a fever, see your health care provider.
Keeping it cool
"It looks like I sat out in the sun too long and am worried about heat stroke. How can I tell if I have it and what should I do?"
– Michelle, 30
Amy Arbogast: If you are exposed to very hot temperatures and you are not drinking enough water, your body may not be able to produce enough sweat to cool itself. This condition is known as heat exhaustion and symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea and excessive sweating. Move yourself to a shaded or air conditioned area. Lie down, elevate your feet and drink plenty of cool water. If you develop a fever, confusion, fainting or seizures, seek immediate medical attention.
If you have any other burning health questions for summer, be sure to send them our way.