Column: Summer — a user’s manual

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Summer sunset seen from the Pridwin.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Summer sunset seen from the Pridwin.

I always like to look at the AARP magazine. I referred to one of their issues that covered nutrition for seniors a few months ago.

Looking at the most recent issues, I found a number of items worth passing along. They have to do with tips for dealing with summer health.

We all know that keeping hydrated is very important for older folks. The best foods for hydration, according to the article, are watermelon, peaches, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini. Corn on the cob is good, but better when it’s cooked with the husk on. I’ve done that with corn in the past but only when I’m grilling.

If the fire is not on, one can cook the unhusked ear in the microwave. I tried this method for two minutes last night and it worked very well.

The authors also warn against sun coming through windows. Skin damage can occur because windows do not filter out UVA rays. The recommendation is to cover up when driving, even if you’re not in a convertible.

A trick found in a recent German study showed that to soothe a mosquito bite, the victim should hold a spoon under hot running water. Then place the spoon on the bite. The heat will relieve the itch in five to 10 minutes, they say.

A method to calm yourself and reduce stress can be found in an orange. Really. Slice an orange in half and sniff it. According to a study from the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center in France, citrus and floral aromas help lower anxiety.

The next tip has to do with cuts and scrapes. Researchers at the University of Aukland in New Zealand found that honey reduces healing time when applied to wounds. Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey also can reduce scarring, another study showed. So spread the honey and apply a bandage. I should have tried that last week on my sliced finger.

Some advice for coping with ticks comes from University of Rhode Island tick expert, Thomas Mather. Place your clothes in the dryer. The high heat dries out the ticks, killing them.

If you’re around the campfire, those marshmallows you’re toasting with the grandkids can help reduce the pain and irritation of summer cold sore throats, experts say.

And if you’re out hiking and your feet sweat in those sneakers, prevent odor by rubbing the inside of the shoe with alcohol, then place an unused tea bag in the shoe overnight. This is shown to keep food odors at bay.

I also learned from this piece in the magazine that there are foods you can eat to avoid the risk of getting a sunburn. They are vitamin D rich foods such as sockeye salmon, fortified cereal, yolk of a large egg, swiss cheese, mushrooms and cod liver oil.

Researchers say calories can be burned by drinking a few extra glasses of cold water. The body will use energy to warm the water up to body temperature.

Most of all, follow the directions from your body, If you’re thirsty, drink water. If you’re hot, cool off. If it’s too sunny, cover up or get out of the sun.

Let common sense and good judgment be your guides.