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Summer Health Tips and Reminders

Ben Milligan MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine Melisa Lai Becker MD, Site Chief, Whidden Hospital Emergency Department Summer Health Tips and Reminders from our Amazing Emergency Team
Ben Milligan MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine and Melisa Lai Becker, MD, Site Chief, Whidden Hospital Emergency Department

The CHA Emergency Department helps nearly 100,000 patients a year at our CHA Cambridge, Somerville, and Whidden Hospital campuses. Have a safe summer by following these health tips and reminders from our amazing Emergency team.

  • Enjoy the sun but protect yourself from sunburn and heat illness. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade or shelter, or slide on some sunnies (this reminder borrowed from Australia’s sun protection campaign of the 1980s-90s).
  • Use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen whenever possible and remember to re-apply. The SPF (sun protection factor) number refers to how many times longer YOUR skin is protected from sunburn if using sunscreen. If you normally would take 10 minutes to sunburn without sunscreen but apply SPF 15, then it should take 150 minutes for you to develop a sunburn.
  • Drink water! The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink water. How can you tell if you’re drinking enough? – check the color of your urine. If you use the bathroom every 3-4 hours and your urine is light yellow, you’re well hydrated. If you go 6 hours without urinating or notice your urine is dark yellow/orange (or even brown), you are dehydrated. The darker color is from the minerals and cells that are getting flushed out of your body.
  • Avoid “dehydrating” fluid. Enjoy your iced coffee and enjoy alcohol responsibly. But know that caffeine and alcohol will actually dehydrate you by making you pee out more than you take in. Try to balance drinks with caffeine or alcohol with glasses of water.
  • After you park the car, everyone needs to get out, especially kids and pets. Even leaving a car window cracked open in the sun on 70-degree F days can still cause inside temperatures to rise above 120F within just a few minutes.

If you do feel sick or have an injury that needs attention, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. Our three Emergency Departments are open 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week – with very short wait times, usually within five minutes! Check out our online wait times right now.