Healthy Buffs: Your best summer yet

Summer brings plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, get some vitamin D and to get active. Follow these tips to stay healthy so you can enjoy every minute of it.

Outdoor Exposure

300 days of sunshine combined with high altitudes make Colorado a pretty special place to be. Minimize the risks while still enjoying our especially great outdoors with these guidelines:

  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 half an hour before heading outside. Reapply often to avoid sunburns.
  • Wear protective clothing like sunglasses, hats, and long-sleeved shirts when you’ll be out in the sun for a while.
  • Know the signs of dehydration, and always, always, always be drinking water. If you’re taking a pet out on the trails with you, be sure you’re carrying enough water for them too!
  • Invest in mosquito and other bug repellants if you’ll be hiking, biking, camping or spending time in wooded areas.
  • If you’ll be exercising outdoors, try to stay in the shade, or save it for the early mornings and evenings when temperatures are lower and the sun isn’t directly above you.

Biking

With plenty of designated lanes and trails, Boulder is the perfect place to log some miles on your bike. Whether you’re commuting to work, heading to the farmer’s market, or going up to NCAR, keep these tips in mind:

  • You already know that helmets greatly reduce the risk of brain injury – so wear yours with pride.
  • If you’ll be riding at night, invest in reflectors for your bike (and some reflective clothing).
  • Know the laws and follow them: ride with the flow of traffic, stay in your lane, and use hand signals. It’s also illegal to ride with headphones in, so unplug before you pedal.
  • When riding with friends, stay single-file to allow cars, pedestrians and other cyclists to also use the roads and paths.
  • Bicycling is subject to the same DUI laws as driving in Colorado. So, if you’ve been drinking, it’s better to stay off the bike.

Camping

Rocky Mountain National Park is right in our backyard, and there’s no better way to explore it than with a classic Colorado camping trip. Whether you’re staying local or heading out of town, here’s what we recommend:

  • Speak with your primary care provider about any vaccinations you may want depending on where you’ll be camping.
  • Check the rules and regulations of Rocky Mountain National Park before heading out.
  • Avoid food poisoning: pack in tight, waterproof containers, keep your cooler insulated, sanitize your hands often, separate raw foods from cooked foods, and cook meats to the appropriate temperature (bring along a meat thermometer to be sure).
  • Be smart about drinking water: bring along your own bottled water, or research the water treatment method that works best for you. More information on doing so can be found on the CDC website.
  • Keep a first-aid kit stocked and ready to go, and review your basic health skills before leaving (like how to identify poison ivy, what to do if you see a wild animal, how to disinfect a cut, and hands-only CPR).
  • Get social with the buddy system: have someone nearby looking out in case of an emergency and do the same for them, whether you’re hiking, kayaking, swimming or climbing.
  • Have all the gear you need ready to go—and if you’re not ready to make the full investment, the Outdoor Program through the Rec Center rents out all kinds of gear to CU Boulder students!

If you have any questions about summer health, make an appointment with Wardenburg Health Services online at mycuhealth.colorado.edu or by calling the Medical Clinic at 303-492-5432.

The Healthy Buffs series is brought to you by Wardenburg Health Services. Visit us online at www.colorado.edu/health