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5 myth busters for a healthy summer

1st Day of Summer Event Highlights Summer Health & Safety Tips

From sunscreen and hydration to the right sandals and sunglasses, there are a lot of health risks under the scorching North Texas sun and on top of the hot concrete sidewalks. Methodist Health System breaks down some common summer health myths. Plus, on June 18, Methodist Charlton Medical Center helps you usher in the 1st Day of Summer, with a whole morning of summer health, exercise and nutrition experts.

MYTH 1: All sunscreens are created equal

What sets one sunscreen apart from another is the protection it offers from both UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun. The sun's UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are the chief cause of wrinkles and aging. UVB rays, on the other hand, damage the skin's upper surface and are the source of sunburn, potentially leading to skin cancer. Bill Way, DO, dermatologist on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, suggests a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher for the best protection.

MYTH 2: You can pass on the sunglasses

There's a lot more to sunglasses than fashion. Sylvia Hargrave, MD, ophthalmologist on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, considers them to be sunscreen for the eyes. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the eyes, causing cataracts or benign growths and potentially contributing to macular degeneration. To block a lot of those harmful rays, she recommends grabbing a pair of sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protective coating before heading outdoors.

MYTH 3: Comfortable flip flops are okay for your feet

According to Clinton Bell, MD, orthopedic physician on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton, flip flops are never good for your feet. Their completely flat foot beds do not support the foot or joints and can contribute to long-term discomfort. And without an ankle strap, even the sporty flip-flops fail to stabilize the foot and keep it from sliding and twisting.

MYTH 4: Pregnant women shouldn't wear bug spray with DEET

Questions about DEET's safety circulate every year. Some articles refer to the chemical as a poison that kills mosquitoes; others imply that the pesticide can be absorbed deep into the skin, potentially putting a pregnant woman and her unborn child at risk. The truth is far less ominous. Carol Norton, MD, OB-GYN chief of the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center, says DEET is safe and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, even for pregnant women. "DEET is exactly what we would recommend pregnant women wear, especially with the Zika virus scare right now," she says. "The benefit of using a repellent with DEET far outweighs the risk of contracting Don't miss out on a healthier, safer summer by falling for these common misconceptions a mosquito-borne illness like Zika." DEET does not absorb into the skin but emits an odor that repels insects. So when you're outdoors this summer, cover up and don't shy away from the safety DEET offers.

MYTH 5: Drinking water is the only way to hydrate

Staying hydrated isn't only about water; it's also about electrolytes, particularly for those who work outside and athletes. Electrolytes are minerals in the blood and body fluids that help muscle function at its optimal level. Luckily, there are tons of ways to hydrate, says Caroline Susie, RD, employee wellness manager at Methodist Health System. Fruits and vegetables like melons, citrus, kiwis, cucumbers, peaches, pineapple, and tomatoes contain high levels of electrolytes. One good way to stay hydrated this summer? Start in the morning with yogurt, kefir, or fruit. Snack on fruits and vegetables throughout the day. And for those who get bored with plain water, try unsweetened ice tea or flavored water.

Want to learn more summer health tips? Sign up for 1st Day of Summer at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. The event is June 18 from 10am-noon. Learn fun ways to exercise and get some healthy summer meal ideas. You'll also learn how to take care of your skin and get some important summer safety tips for your whole family.