With the summer season in full swing, Hallmark Health System (HHS) would like to offer some tips to ensure local families have a safe and healthy summer. The summer is full of a lot of fun activities that include trips to the beach, backyard barbecues and much more. Still, the same activities can pose a number of health risks the community needs to be aware of.

“Summertime is a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous if people aren’t careful,” said Steven Sbardella, MD, chairman of emergency medicine for HHS. “We ask that everyone in the community take the proper precautions so that they don’t end up in one of our emergency departments at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford or Melrose-Wakefield Hospital as well as the Urgent Care Center at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. We love seeing our neighbors, but would hate to have them come in for a medical problem that could have been prevented.”


Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) are both conditions that humans can contract if bit by an infected mosquito. Lyme disease is another one to watch out for and is contracted by infected deer ticks.


Thankfully there are steps that you can take to protect yourself against EEE, WNV and Lyme disease. Lower your chances of being infected by being proactive and taking the following precautions:


  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Use a bug repellant containing DEET; read directions carefully
  • Remember to screen children and pets that have been outside for ticks and remove them carefully
  • Remove standing pools of water to help keep the mosquito population down in your neighborhood


Sun protection is another area of concern during the summer months. HHS recommends taking the following steps to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful UV rays:


  • Apply a broad-spectrum sun block with an SPF of at least 15 every two to four hours. Don’t forget that the lips and scalp need protection, too
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing to keep the sun off of unprotected skin
  • Try to avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Poison ivy is also something to look out for. If you get poison ivy make sure to keep the rash clean, dry and use either Benadryl cream, Caladryl lotion or the generic equivalent. If the rash is located in multiple areas or covers a good portion of the face you should be seen by a clinician.


Adults and children should also wear helmets if they’re going to be riding their bikes.


If an urgent medical problem develops, visit our 24-hour a day, seven day per week emergency care at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford or Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. You may also visit the Urgent Care Center at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  


For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.  




Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

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