Not Fun in the Sun: 5 Things You Want to Avoid This Summer

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Summer is here, and almost everyone can find something to love about the season. Between the warm weather, flowers growing, the smell of barbecue, visits to the pool or ocean, and fun summer trips, the warm-weather months are full of great activities for kids, families, and everyone else, as well. As we approach summer and early fall, although most people are busy thinking about the good parts of these months, there are actually many things you want to look out for and avoid.

Warmer weather brings more chances to be outside, but it also brings many different bugs, dangerous plants, the opportunity for sunburns, foodborne illnesses, and even heatstroke and dehydration. These problems can make your summer long and miserable, so you should be prepared for them ahead of time. All five issues can be mostly avoided if you plan carefully, so read on to find out what each of these issues entails and how to avoid them.

Source: Stilfehler / Wikimedia Commons

1. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac

A rash from or a reaction to one of these three plants can be one of the itchiest and worst feelings you may ever experience. The plants can cause a horrible rash called allergic contact dermatitis on your skin. Usually the rash shows up in lines or streaks and includes fluid-filled blisters or hives, but different people can have varying levels of reaction to the plants. The telltale rash often shows up within eight to 48 hours after you initially come into contact with the plant, but it can take much longer. The rash is not contagious; you can only get it from touching the plant. However, if you touch the plant and touch something else, you can reinfect yourself by touching the object again.

Eastern poison ivy is often rope-like, with three shiny green (or red) leaves that all bud from one stem; Western poison ivy is a shrub (low to the ground) that also has three leaves, and may have yellow or green flowers, as well as white to green-yellow amber berries. Poison oak looks similar to a poison ivy shrub with three leaves, but may be vine-like. It has yellow or green flowers and also sometimes has green-yellow or white berries. Poison sumac is a woody shrub with stems that contain seven to 13 pairs of leaves. It also can have berries, and they are usually pale yellow or cream-colored.

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