The Illnesses You Need To Be Aware Of This Summer – And How To Avoid Them

We are just days away from summer – YAY! While we’ve been working hard to get our bodies into shape for the warmer weather (or growing beautiful babies!), there are a few illnesses that can sneak up on you in summer.

More swimming and high temperatures can cause a myriad of nasties, so here’s how to stay healthy in the heat.

pregnant pool summer

Food poisoning

There’s nothing better than throwing a steak on the BBQ when the mercury starts to soar – who wants to turn on the oven when the house is like a furnace?!

But you need to be extra careful that everything is cooked properly and stored well in the heat. Here are some ways to help prevent food poisoning, thanks to the Better Health Channel:

When shopping

  • When you’re shopping, buy your hot and cold foods last, and make sure you get them home quickly and store them properly.
  • Don’t buy food that is past its use-by date.
  • If the food looks bad (damaged, leaking etc), avoid buying it.
  • Make sure staff are using gloves when you’re buying food like deli meats.
  • Never buy cracked or dirty eggs.

medium roast rib-eye steak on wooden plate with pepper and salt

Preparing food

  • Wash your hands properly in warm, soapy water before preparing your food.
  • Take care not to use the same chopping boards for raw food and cooked foods.
  • Most foods should be cooked to a temperature of 75 °C.
  • Check the temperature of the food you’re cooking with a thermometer. If you don’t have one handy, a good guide is to cook poultry until the meat is white (check near the bones), cook meat such as hamburgers and mince until the juices run clear. White fish should be cooked until it flakes easily.
  • Cover your food as soon as possible with lids, foil or plastic wrap.

Storing food

  • Make sure you separate raw and cooked food.
  • Raw food should be stored at the bottom of the fridge, just in case the juices drip.
  • Allow cooked food to cool to room temperature (about 21 °C) before popping them into the fridge. This shouldn’t be longer that two hours.
  • Cover your food with lids, plastic wrap or foil.
  • Don’t store your food in open tin cans.

If you think you may have a case of food poisoning, you’ll usually have to provide a stool sample to be tested for either a bacterial, virus or salmonella infection.

Dr Bastian Seidel, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners told 702 ABC Sydney that the body’s natural immune system will be able to get rid of the bug on its own.

“It may take a week, may take 10 days. Use supportive measures like plenty of fluids, water, painkillers to stop the pain, rather than using antibiotics.”

Swimmer’s ear

family picnic at beach

If you’re keen on taking a few dips over summer (and who isn’t?!), swimmer’s ear is once nasty you want to avoid. It’s an infection of the canal between the eardrum and outer ear, and exposure to water is one of the causes. The symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Itchiness.
  • A bad-smelling yellow or green pus in the ear canal.
  • Reduced hearing.
  • Noises in the ear – like a buzzing or humming.

“Often it goes away just with painkillers, but sometimes it doesn’t and that’s when patients need to take antibiotic ear drops or antibiotic tablets to get rid of it,” explains Dr Seidel.

“If it’s not much better after three to five days and it’s getting worse, or you may get a fever, can’t hear properly, then go see a GP.”

To try and avoid swimmer’s ear, consider using ear caps or plugs to keep the canal dry. You can also make sure any water is drained out of your ears and gently use paper tissue to dry your ears.

Fungal infections

Generally, we like to walk around barefoot after swimming in summer, but you need to be careful in high traffic areas like change rooms or pool decks.

Try to not share towels, and wear thongs after getting out of the pool, to avoid things like athlete’s foot or tinea – which will need to be treated with antifungal creams.

Now you know how to stay clear of illnesses this summer, make sure you enjoy yourselves – the healthy way! Here’s The Healthy Mummy’s FREE Summer Drinks ebook to keep you well hydrated during the hot months ahead!


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