6 health tips to get you through the holiday weekend
Posted July 2
Updated July 3
In addition to fireworks and cookouts, the long holiday weekend brings mosquitoes, sunburns and sweat. To help your family get through it, in its June/July edition, AARP the Magazine offers 20 quirky tips for surviving summer and promises that they actually work.
To soothe a mosquito bite, run a spoon under hot water, then press the spoon to the swelling to relieve the itch.
Better yet, don't get bitten in the first place, by applying bug spray after an application of sunscreen. If you put insect repellent on first, it will effectively repel the sunscreen, too, the magazine says.
If your weekend includes a workout in the heat, stock up on teabags and medical tape. The tape, Stanford researchers told us earlier this year, is a "ridiculously cheap" and easy way to prevent blisters, which are more likely to form when your feet perspire, particularly if you're wearing cotton socks.
The teabags are for after you exercise when your shoes might be — how to put it politely? — a tad pungent. Dry teabags absorb both moisture and the stink, the magazine promises.
"First, wipe the inside of each shoe with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol, to kill bacteria. Next, place a dry, unused tea bag in each shoe; let them sit overnight," the article says. "This sounds wacky, but believe it or not, it's a great way to reduce odor in sneakers and other shoes."
If the weekend finds you exercising in the heat, carry cold water bottles, which can help to power you longer.
"Cooling the palms helps to circulate blood and pulls heat from the body," writers Beth Howard, Jessica Migala and Nissa Simon said, citing research from Stanford University School of Medicine.
And finally, if you're driving somewhere for the Fourth — 43 million of us are, according to AAA — apply sunscreen to your left arm and face. Car windows don't filter UVA rays, the magazine notes, which is why dermatologists find more sun damage and skin cancer on the left side of the body than the right.
"The UV exposure we receive driving a car really adds up," The Skin Cancer Foundation says.
In one study, the more time people spent driving a car, the more severe their sun-damage on the left of their face. (And yes, they confirmed these findings by looking at similar studies in countries like England, where drivers drive on the other side of the road, and therefore sit on the right. There, there are more cases of skin cancer and precancerous lesions on the right side of the face.)
But don't avoid the sun altogether; regular exposure gives us vitamin D, and there was research out of Sweden recently that showed women who had greater sun exposure lived up to two years longer than those who had less.