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How to Avoid Summer's Health Woes

Experts explain strategies for preventing 6 common maladies from ruining your summer fun.

Swimmer's Ear

Swimmer's ear is a kid's nightmare when summer finally arrives.

"Just like when your fingers get pruney when you're in the water too long, the same thing happens to your ears," says Galier.

When you swim, or even shower or bathe, water can get trapped in your ear canal, causing the canal to get inflamed and infected.

How to avoid it. Gone are the days of Silly Putty in your ears. Now it's simply wax ear plugs, or custom-fit ear plugs, explains Galier, to prevent swimmer's ear.

Warning signs. "The symptoms of swimmer's ear are ear pain and decreased hearing," says Galier.

You might also experience, according to the web site of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, a sensation that the ear is full, fever, or swollen lymph nodes.

What to do. "Treating swimmer's ear requires a prescription," says Galier. "You need to see your doctor."

Sunburns

There's nothing worse than a sunburn in the summer. It hurts, it looks funny, and it means you have to stay inside until it gets better -- or go outside in the hot summer sun fully clothed to protect your burnt-to-a-crisp skin. Why does the sun cook us like a strip of bacon? According to the CDC's web site, "Sunlight consists of infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light, and ultraviolet light consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The UVA rays cause tanning and wrinkling, while UVB rays cause sunburn, aging, wrinkling, and skin cancer."

How to avoid it. It's simple -- either stay inside or wear sunscreen. According to the CDC's web site, "Dermatologists recommend using a full-spectrum sunscreen that blocks or absorbs all UV rays." And of course, don't think just because it's cloudy you can skip the sunscreen. Most UV rays pass right through clouds.

Warning signs. While the sun might feel nice while you're baking underneath it, a few hours later, you'll pay the price if you didn't protect yourself with sunscreen. According to the CDC's web site, "Symptoms usually start about four hours after sun exposure, worsen in 24-36 hours, and resolve in three to five days. In mild sunburn, the skin becomes red, warm, and tender. More serious burns are painful, and the skin becomes swollen and may blister."

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