By Carol Guzman
Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial start of summer, and for good reason! The upcoming holiday marks the beginning of sunny days, longs nights and, of course, summer health. There’s nothing quite like summer in Chicago. Learn how to enjoy it to its fullest by checking out these summer health tips:
- Practice Sun Safety: The bright sunshine is one of the summer’s biggest draws. Unfortunately, catching some rays and enjoying the warmth can be hazardous to your health. Sunburns can increase a person’s risk of getting skin cancer. People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are significantly more likely to have a BRCA2 genetic mutation which is linked to an increased risk of melanoma, as well as other malignancies. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing protective clothing, using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30+ and seeking shade to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
- Stay Hydrated: As the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important when you’re under the sun. The CDC suggests making water your drink of choice this summer, as sugary and alcoholic drinks can cause a person to lose body fluid. They recommend everyone hydrate and drink plenty of fluids, even when they may not be thirsty.
- Say Yes to Summer Fruits and Vegetables: Sunny, warm weather kicks off the outdoor farmer’s market season. Head to the one nearest you and scope out summer fruits and vegetables to prepare a healthy summer menu. Fruits and veggies typically cost less when they are in season. A few of our favorites include berries, cherries, corn, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, watermelon and tomatoes.
- Learn about Your Genetic Health: Learning about your genetic health can be done at any time of the year, so why not be proactive and start this summer? If you’re getting together for a family BBQ on Memorial Day or Fourth of July, start a conversation about health history, and encourage your friends to do the same. Later this summer, join the Sarnoff Center for a conversation about CRISPR and how genetic technologies are shaping our future. Of course, you can always contact our genetic counselor or visit us at jewishgenetics.org to learn more about different kinds of genetic testing, Jewish genetic disorders, hereditary cancer and what genetic health risks can mean for you.
Whether or not you are excited about the upcoming summertime heat, use these tips learn how to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe every season. Check out the Sarnoff Center calendar to keep an eye out for events where you can learn more about your genetic health this summer and throughout the year.