Published Jun 20, 2023

Dr. B's Weekly Roundup: Summer health safety tips

An older thin white woman with short white hair wearing a sunhat, sun glasses and a bathing suite sits on a rainbow colored raft on the sand in front of the water.
Published Jun 20, 2023

Welcome to the Dr. B Newsletter, a curated weekly healthcare email that delivers vetted reads on whole-body health. Summer’s got a lot going for it. Vacation! Outdoor dining! Cold plunges! Warm nights! This week, we dig into summer health tips for day drinking, travel hydration + events you’d not assume hazardous. (Pickleball?!) Plus, healthcare news about Black health, Covid-19 vaccine recipes + Medicaid cuts.

  • The Checkup: keepin’ it together
  • (c)Heat Sheet: drinking + playin’ it safe
  • Healthcare: Juneteenth + vaccines + Medicaid
  • Dr. B Can Treat: itchy eczema!

The Checkup

Day drinking dangers

Two young and beautiful Black woman wearing dresses stand at a kitchen counter making cocktails with fresh fruit and herbs.

Love sipping on a frosty drink while the sun rides high? According to The New York Times, we can burn more than our skin if not careful.

Day drinking can cause + extend dehydration, messing up other areas of our health. With more hours to drink, we’re less likely to eat food that absorbs booze—so we get drunk faster. If it’s really hot, we’ll sweat (or pee) out fluids that contain the electrolytes we need to function. And the sooner we start drinking, the sooner the hangover hits back. Daytime dehydration can also cause hang-xiety—where shakes + dizziness mimic anxiety. And it messes with our sleep in so many ways.

So sip smart out there.

Fly hy(drated)

A young white girl wearing a rainbow bikini top looks away from the camera and up into the sky where a plane flies.

We didn’t know this before Well+Good brought it to our attention.

But airplane cabin humidity averages 10-20%. (That’s 30% lower than what most of us experience grounded.) Losing even 2% of our body’s water can make us cranky + forgetful. And it wreaks havoc on our skin!

One fresh tip to help you stay hydrated while flying dehydration is to drink up before heading to the airport. Sip while you pack, then check the color of your pee. Clear or light yellow urine = you’re good to go. Dark yellow or amber urine = you’re flagging.

Read the article for more hydrating + flying tips. And here’s Dr. B’s hydration deep dive, which includes the best electrolyte drink mixes + more.

Are you summer safety prepared?

A young girl with long brown hair wearing a rainbow colored dress and sandals faces away from the camera and leans the wheel of a black car.

In AARP, experts share summer safety tips for everything from riptides to road rage to surviving the great outdoors. The article's packed with good-to-knows. But here's how to avoid the ER in three lesser-known areas of summer fun. Stay safe out there!

Human stampedes. At packed events, wear shoes that protect your feet. Note exits with lower traffic. If things get tight, make a box shape in front of your chest with your arms to minimize being pressed so hard you can’t breathe. If you drop something, leave it! No phone is worth getting crushed!

Grills gone wild. Spray your grill tank hose and connections with soap + water. Turn on the gas. See air bubbles? There may be a leak! Otherwise, if a grease fire starts, shut the lid (to cut off oxygen). Turn off the gas if you can do so safely. Don’t use a fire extinguisher. (It can spread the flames!)

Prepare for pickleball. We get that you wanna stay active in the hot summer months. But let’s avoid outdoor slips + falls. Wear shoes designed for side-to-side motion (like tennis shoes) instead of running shoes (that propel you forward). Wear a wrist brace if you have any history of strains. And warm up your quads, shoulders + other vital muscle groups prior to physical activity to prevent sprains + strains.

Healthcare 411

Celebrate Juneteenth by promoting Black health, wealth and joy (CNN). To honor Juneteenth, let’s level the health playing field. Black Americans face higher rates of HIV, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer and mental health conditions. One in four Black kids are affected by hunger. To fix this, we need to address food access and education. Stay informed by following Black health activists (every day).

FDA advisers back updated COVID shots for fall vaccinations (NPR). An FDA advisory panel recommends that drug manufacturers update Covid-19 vaccines from the current bivalent formula to a monovalent formula targeting Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.  Monovalent boosters elicit a stronger immune response + XBB.1.5 makes up about 40% of new infections. So it should give us the best protection. Learn more at this epidemiologist’s summary.

More than 1 million dropped from Medicaid as states start post-pandemic purge of rolls (AP). About 1.5 million people have lost Medicaid coverage since April. Some of the cuts follow the end of the Covid-19 health emergency, which temporarily increased state funds so that they would not cut Medicaid patients. But others are losing coverage for paperwork mishaps made by their state departments. Read the article for this messy, dangerous process.

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