LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Finally, spring has sprung! That means warmer weather, longer days, more chances to enjoy the outdoors, and more health opportunities as well as health challenges.  Let's take a look at five common spring health myths and why they are more fiction than fact.

  • Myth: The temperature change makes me sick
  • Those who do get sick early in the season are not victims of abrupt temperature changes.
  •  It's more likely that symptoms are caused by exposure to allergens that reappear in our environments with the change of season.

  • Myth: I didn't have allergies as a kid, so I'm too old to start getting them now
  • Though many people commonly develop allergies in childhood, it's never too late for them to start.
  • Be on the lookout for symptoms ranging from itchy, watery eyes to coughing and sneezing to difficulty breathing.
  • If you notice these symptoms occurring for the first time when you haven't had them in previous years, then it's a good time to see your doctor about an allergy consultation.

  • Myth: I need to get my skin ready for the sun by using an indoor tanning bed
  • Many people think you should get a "base" tan before you head out to the beach.
  • There's little evidence to support the idea that a base tan protects you against sunburn.
  • A few sessions of indoor tanning will not prevent you from burning in the sun. Plus, the risks of long-term tanning outweigh the unproven benefits of a base tan.
  • The risk of melanoma seems to be increasing in people under 40, especially women. 1
  • Use sunscreen frequently and liberally. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. 2

  • Myth: Now that it's nice outside again, I can go back to running like I used to
  • Many people think they can pick back up where they left off when it comes to working out.
  • If you've taken a long layoff from running when the cold winter set in, then trying to return immediately to your previous speed and distance can put you at risk for injuries like stress fractures, shin splints and muscle strains.
  • It's safer to start slowly and gradually increase your endurance over weeks.
  • Don’t forget to stretch before your run.

  • Myth: The ticks won't be out until late summer
  • Peak tick season begins coincidentally the same time that most of us head outdoors to enjoy the spring weather!
  • Ticks can cause serious illness, like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Avoid heavily wooded or grassy areas and use DEET-based repellents on skin to keep the pests away.
  • When you come inside, check your clothing and then your body thoroughly for ticks or have someone else check you everywhere
  • If you develop a rash or fever within a few days of discovering the tick, see your doctor.

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