What are the health dangers of the summer holidays?

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Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 10:43 am


SARASOTA, Fla. -- National holidays which fall on weekdays are when many take the opportunity to indulge in activities they aren’t usually able to. And it can mean a busy day for the medical community.

While Memorial Day is a day of reflection and respect, many of us also take the opportunity to go to the beach, a barbeque, or a party. But, these destinations may lead to behavior that can send you straight to the E.R.

Monica Midzio was armed and ready to go kayaking Monday. The Sarasota native knows what will keep her safe this holiday. “Got my water, got my sunblock.”

Robert Campbell says white fabric reflects the sun while he cycles. “I know all about the heat; you just have to get acclimated to such a degree.”

With an extra day off, Dr. Dan Cooper of Cooper Concierge Medicine says people tend to participate in behavior outside their normal routine. “During Memorial Day and other holidays, we over indulge, eat too much, drink too much alcohol, exercise much, and that creates a condition which we normally call the holiday heart.”

Some of these conditions are serous, even life threatening. “Heart attacks, rapid heartbeat, chaotic heartbeat, and even atrial fibrillation.”

Dayne Popa says as a former lifeguard he's seen accidents that could be avoided. “Making sure there's safety around the surrounding areas with traffic and children wandering off into the water on their own.”

And there are medical conditions associated with drinking while exposed to heat and sun. “The blood pressure can drop, heart rate can go up, and then you have an arrhythmia, rapid heartbeat.”

Heat stroke can also sneak up on you and be life threatening, but there are things you can do if someone has symptoms. “You have to lay them down in a cool place, put a cool towel over their head, between their arm pits and life their legs up.”

But for some locals like landscaper Michael Marquis, Monday was a work day. He's used to the heat. He says he normally wears long pants, long sleeves, a big sun hat and sunblock to protect himself. “Don't want to burn my skin and get cancer.”

The best way to protect yourself is to put a protection plan into place before you leave home. Appoint a designated driver should you want have a couple of drinks, pack sunscreen and drinks with electrolytes in them, and spend the day with a friend if you need a shoulder to reflect on.

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