Summer Safety Guide
How to avoid illness during the summer break!
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Professor Shin Hyun-young (Department of Medicine) is an active worker in the health and medical field who makes regular appearances on the YTN radio program My Family's Romantic Doctor. Shin shares health tips and medical information during the live radio show, and this week, she gave advice concerning health issues related to circumstances that Hanyang students may face during the summer break. Shin shared four different health issues and summer-survival tips, for days when long summer days and nights are filled with heat waves.
Q: I registered for a TOEIC class during the summer break to spend my time efficiently! But wherever I go, whether it is the academy or a café for a place to study, it’s freezing due to heavy air conditioning. Professor, please tell us about the danger of air-conditioningitis, also known as cooling disorder.
Shin: Air-conditioningitis refers to the many symptoms that follows after the autonomic nervous system of our body gets tired of adjusting to the temperature change mostly due to heavy indoor air conditioning during the summer. Slight cold, aching all over one’s body, weakness, indigestion, diarrhea, and irregular periods are some of the symptoms that can be seen when you catch cooling disorder.
Tips for preventing air conditioningitis is to first and foremost ensure the temperature difference of indoor and outdoors is within 5~6 degrees Celsius, considering that the recommended indoor temperature is 25 to 26 degrees Celsius. Make sure not to receive direct air-conditioning breeze! It is recommended to stop the air conditioner for 30 minutes after an hour of operation and ventilate through open windows. Speaking of basics here, keeping the fan and air condition clean by regularly cleaning the filters should be important, right? Stretching, or lightly exercising could help to prevent coming down with one of the most vulnerable diseases during summer.
Q: My plan was to take a break and have some time to refresh during the break, but all I really do is look into my smartphone without even knowing if it’s day or night. After this continuous cycle, I can’t seem to digest well, and my neck and back start to hurt. Professor, is there anything wrong with my life pattern?
Shin: Smartphones have become an inseparable part of our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. If overused, smartphones can bring about five major health concerns. Firstly, looking at phones for long periods can cause musculoskeletal disease, which means slowly craning the head and eventually inducing the text neck or turtle neck syndrome, forward head posture, or arthritis due to overuse of fingers. Second of all, it may cause dry eye syndrome or xerophthalmia as looking into the screen for a long time decreases blinking of the eye, making the eye surface dry. Also, there is research that claims that smartphone use before sleep arouses awareness due to exposure to blue light, which causes insomnia. Mental health is also vulnerable to smartphone overuse. A decrease in interpersonal relationships or lack of sociability can be the result of smartphone addiction. Lastly, research is ongoing to prove that smartphone usage may increase the possibility of causing brain tumors and sterility.
Then what is the correct way of using a smartphone? Using earphones or Bluetooth to minimize exposure to electromagnetic waves and alternating the contact of both side of the face and each ear when making a call is important. It is recommended that long periods of smartphone use is avoided, especially two hours before going to bed.
Q: During extremely hot days when heat wave warnings have been issued, neither having a meal outside nor eating undercooked food seems safe enough. How can I avoid food poisoning during summer time?
Shin: Germs in food spread easily during the hot and humid summer weather. Staphylococcus, Salmonella, colon bacillus, and Vibrio Vulnificus Septicemia are three representative viruses that may affect us. You must pay special attention to sanitary supervision when eating naengmyeon, gimbap, sushi, or cold-bean soup noodles. Typical symptoms after food poisoning are nausea, stomachache, diarrhea, and fever. For prevention, the most basic step is to frequently wash your hands. Also boil the food and water and stay away from raw food. Do not leave cooked food out at room temperature, but reheat it before putting it in the refrigerator.
Q: I participate in volunteer work at Seoul Forest during the day. During the hot months, I tend to have more headaches and dehydration. Please warn us about the dangers of sunstroke and heatstroke.
Shin: They are both typical thermal diseases. They occur when the ability to control temperature in our body is damaged after long hours of sun exposure. Dehydration, fever, nausea, convulsions, and fainting are some of the symptoms that can occur after long period of sun exposure. Sunstroke is caused by long exposure to the hot sun, and heatstroke is when one's body temperature goes above 40 degrees Celcius. In the case of heatstroke, taking fast emergency measures are crucial as there are mortality risks as well as mental deterioration. Moving to cool areas, loosening tight clothing and ingesting adequate water is necessary. In general, heatstroke patients need to be rushed to the emergency room and be treated to recover the optimal temperature.
Summer is a hot and passionate season, one that requires special precautions to avoid getting sick. Shin wishes everyone a healthy summer with her health tips.
Kim Hyun-soo firstname.lastname@example.org
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