A few weeks ago, you couldn’t turn on the news without hearing a story on Zika Virus. While other newsworthy stories have started to take over the news cycle, many in the medical community are keeping their attention focused squarely on this infection. Here’s a short summary of why people shouldn’t be ready to stop talking about Zika quite yet:
- An infected person may not even know they’re infected. People very rarely die from Zika. In fact, according to the CDC website, most people don’t even get sick enough to go to the hospital and some won’t show any symptoms at all. This means that these infected people can unknowingly spread the virus.
- There is no vaccine. You can’t protect yourself from Zika the same way you would from the flu or chicken pox. The only way to ensure that you won’t get Zika is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito.
- It can spread through sexual contact. Zika virus can be spread from a man to his sexual partner. According to the CDC, this is because the virus is present longer in semen than in blood. From the cases of sexual transmission, doctors have learned that the virus can spread through semen before the man has symptoms, while he is displaying symptoms and after symptoms resolve.
- Zika affects unborn babies the most. The virus causes birth defects in newborns. The most frequent defect of children born to a mother with the virus is microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where a newborn’s head is not as large as it should be because the brain is underdeveloped.
- This year’s summer Olympics are in Brazil. Zika spreads to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, and Brazil’s humidity and hot temperatures foster the kind of environment where mosquitos typically thrive.
With summer in full swing, it’s time to start prepping for your highly anticipated beach time. Hopefully you’ve already scheduled a week off work, booked an oceanfront room and stocked up on flip flops and bathing suits.
So, what’s next on your to-do list? One thing that may not stand out as a priority, but most definitely should be one, is arming yourself with the necessary tools to protect your skin from the blistering heat of the summer sun. Too much sun exposure could ruin your vacation with an unpleasant sun burn, and in more serious cases contribute to skin cancer. Here are five ways to protect your skin on your next beach vacation:
1. Apply Sunscreen. The American Academy for Dermatology recommends using a SPF 30 or higher, and reapplying approximately every two hours. Don’t forget to apply it to your ears, hands and feet too.
2. Check the UV index. Before heading out for a day at the beach, check the predicted UV index for the area. The UV index provides information on the strength of the sun’s UV rays. If it is too high, take extra precautions with a higher SPF or consider an inside activity that day.
3. Bring an umbrella. An umbrella can provide some much needed refuge from the hot sun. Don’t rely on the umbrella for complete protection, though, and continue to apply sunscreen regularly.
4. Cover up. Bring a tee-shirt or a trendy cover up to slip on when taking a walk on the beach or wading in the water. Just remember: Stay away from dark colors that will attract the sun’s rays.
5. Wear a hat. A floppy hat is the perfect all-in-one beach accessory. You’ll look stylish while protecting your scalp, face and eyes from damaging UV rays.
Office kitchens often provide the obstacles that knock a person off the “straight and narrow” of healthy snacking. Between company-provided snacks and the box of doughnuts your coworker was kind enough to bring in, these treats can make it tough to stick to your weight goals.
There are ways to stay on the right path, however! Here are some pointers to consider when trying to block the pesky office snack cycle:
Don’t eat the same lunches constantly.
- If you have the same sandwich or salad daily, it might be playing a role in your snack bar addiction. Switch it up and you might find that you are more satisfied!
- If you’re craving a snack, but aren’t actually hungry, try waiting it out. It can typically take 20-30 minutes for the desire to pass, so try to do something productive that will make passing the time easier.
Bring your own snacks.
- If you can’t stop the snacking, you will be able to control what you will be snacking on. This could help you stay away from the cheese puffs and closer to the carrots.
Get to the root of the issue.
- It is likely that your snacking problem has less to do with an addiction to food and more to do with your job. It could be boredom, stress, lack of stimulation or fatigue. Whatever the issue is, tackling it may help lead to a reduction in your snack attacks.
- It is okay to occasionally eat a cookie or two from the snack bar. Don’t beat yourself up about it, even if you did happen to skip the celery and peanut butter. This isn’t a war against snacks, so don’t act like a failed general when you give into their allure.
Warm weather. Long, sunny days. Perfectly temperate water. You know what this means: Summer is here, and it’s time to break out the swimsuit.
This year is different, though. With the movement to create acceptance for women to love their bodies, even if they don’t fit into the media prototype, it has opened many doors for what is trendy this season. It’s no longer all about bikinis.
Recently, high-waist garments have become an item of clothing that many women can’t imagine their closets without. Naturally, they are making their statement in swimwear. If you’re nervous about exposing too much, these suits give you the option to keep the “skin” minimal. It also takes away pressure from new moms who are still adjusting to their bodies.
Another alternative to the traditional bikini is the one-piece. That’s right, it’s back and with a vengeance. No longer only for aquatic athletes, older ladies and young girls, the one-pieces of this season are snatching hearts and dropping jaws. When garments with high waists started coming onto the scene, leotards and body suits started sneaking back into our closets with them. Even long sleeved one-pieces are becoming popular.
This summer’s swimwear trends offer relief to many that have anxiety about being in a swimsuit. These alternatives are still fashion forward, but finally offer something for everyone. It looks like this year’s “beach body,” is every body.