Memorial Day is a national holiday in the United States for remembering those who died in the armed services. Originally created after the Civil War, it was soon extended to commemorate all Americans who died while serving in the military.
But Memorial Day weekend has also become the unofficial start of the summer season in the U.S. and with that comes sun, swimming, beach-going and barbecues. Oh, and mosquitoes. And sunburn. And too much eating. So here are some suggestions for staying safe and healthy this Memorial Day weekend...
Wear sunscreen! I don't know the weather forecast for the entire country offhand, but traditionally Memorial Day weekend is about being outside. And if you're outside this time of year, that could mean lots of sun. So wear sunscreen. And put sunscreen on your kids. The damage that the sun does is irreversible and often isn't visible (superficially, but also in the form of skin cancer) until much later in life. And did you know that red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables may help naturally reduce sunburn risk? Yup. I read it on the internet, so it must be true.
Don't forget the bug spray. I don't know about you, but I'm a mosquito magnet. (I hear some people just have that yummy skin mosquitoes love. Lucky me.) Mosquito bites certainly aren't life-threatening, but boy, are they annoying! And itchy. Really itchy. So do yourself a favor, spray yourself to prevent the bites before they happen. A natural option? Diluted liquid garlic concentrate or apply vinegar or soybean oil to your skin. (No, I haven't tried it myself, but I think I might.)
Drink plenty of water. Or other non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated and non-sugared drinks. Why? Because it's good for you. And also because with lots of sun comes headaches and dehydration (often related). So keep that water coming, even before you feel thirsty. (And no, swimming does not serve as an alternative. Your body doesn't absorb the water the same way as when you drink it, silly.)
Limit your alcohol intake. This is a good rule all the time, of course, but holiday weekends seem to invite more drinking so be smart about it if you choose to imbibe. Alcohol and sun are a terrible combination, both physically and mentally--holiday weekends + alcohol seem to raise people's stupidity level. 'Nuff said.
Be smart. That should encompass all the other suggestions, right? Don't swim alone, don't drive if you've been drinking, get plenty of rest, swim near a lifeguard at the beach...you get the idea.
So have a great holiday weekend and take care of yourself! (And please, take a minute or two to remember those who lost their lives to serve our country.)
If you have existing health problems, a holiday weekend doesn't mean a holiday from taking care of yourself and your medical needs. Make sure you wear your medical ID and if you don't have one, consider getting one; in an emergency, medical personnel need to easily identify your condition(s). Some items to consider for summer...
My ID Square…Medical IDs You Want To Wear