It’s almost summer time! These warm months are full of vacations, trips to the park, and parties outside with food and friends. With these changes in weather and your schedule, you may be at an increased risk for illness. Also, travel takes a little extra planning when you are a cancer survivor. Cancer and cancer treatment can weaken your ability to fight germs and illnesses, also known as your immune system. More than half of cancer survivors are over age 70. As you age you also have a natural decline in your immune system’s ability to fight of illness. No matter what your age or health, be proactive and reduce your risk for summer illness by following some basic safety tips. In the comments, let us know your tips for a great, safe summer, too!
liquids or have a fluid snack every 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Lighten Up: Between sightseeing, sports, and excursions, plan a time to relax. Your body will be more resilient with a siesta between active events.
3. Eat early: If going out to eat or dining from a buffet, eat early. Ask to go through the buffet line first to choose foods that have been touched the least. The food will also be fresher and less likely to trigger food-borne illness.
4. Time Out: The hottest time of the day to be outside is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seek shade, use a sun umbrella, or enjoy the day in a pavilion or covered porch during these risky hours. Be outside and active early in the morning or late in the afternoon to reduce your risk for sun damage and dehydration.
5. Two’s the Limit: Bacteria can start to grow in food 2 hours after cooking. Refrigerate food within 2 hours of serving. Don’t eat food that has been setting in the sun with high-risk ingredients such as mayonnaise, meat, fish, cookie dough, deli meat, etc.
6. Shop smart: Shop for groceries and produce early in the day. Get chilled or frozen foods just before you check out. Take a cooler for transporting and refrigerate food as soon as possible.
7. Just Say No: Although free food samples and sidewalk vendor foods are enticing, just say no. These food venues may have less food safety steps, especially on a crowded street or in a store.
8. Get back to nature: Buy foods that are as close to natural as possible. Buy whole meats and fruits instead of sliced. Make your own salads instead of prepared bowls at a deli. Less food handling means less chance for contamination.
9. Know Your ICE: ICE means In Case of Emergency. When you travel, have your list of emergency contacts on a flash drive, cell phone, or written list. Then first responders and emergency personnel can easily locate your family and physician if there is a health crisis.
sunscreen. Reapply every 30 minutes to an hour or after taking a dip in the water. Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Don’t forget to lather up on the tops of your feet, ears, and head or wear a hat.
11. Change Up Your Fashions: Rock those new sun-blocking fabrics, sleeves, hats and shirts with built in sun protection. Sun-protection is woven right in to the fabric.
12. Avoid Tanning Beds: Tanning beds are never safe. Don’t be fooled. Instead try spray tanning and home bronzers.
13. Plan Ahead (Just In Case): When travelling, locate the hospital or medical center closest to your destination. Your insurance plan website or a representative can list the facilities and physicians within your network.
14. Put It In Writing: Plan your vacation itinerary, and put it in writing. Discuss your plans with your healthcare team, especially when travelling to foreign countries. Share your plans with your ICE contacts, just in case an emergency arises.
15. Remember Your Medication: Take your medications and a list of your medication names, dosages, and schedule. If travelling abroad, have a list of the generic names for your medications as well. Prep for any temperature changes with an insulated cooler.
food thermometer to check the temp of the inside of the food.
17. Separate Foods: When cooking, have separate cutting boards for meats, veggies, and cheeses. Put meats in lowest area of refrigerator. Don’t rinse meats before cooking. This could splatter bacteria to countertops and sink.
18. Bedazzle: Choose one of the new, stylish ID bracelets, necklaces, or travel pouches that can notify others of your drug or food allergies, medical conditions as well as ICE contacts. Look at your local travel or organization stores for great choices.
ABC’s of skin growths or mole shape changes that can alert you to possible skin cancers. Act quickly, and talk with your healthcare team if you find a suspicious mole.
View our past webinar Eat To Fight Cancer Side Effects: Summer Safety recorded on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.