Dr. Q’s Corner – Spring has Spring 5/21

May has arrived with its warmer weather and lots of sunshine; it’s an uplifting time. We’re feeling especially joyful this spring as life is returning to normal on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are still hot spots across the country, it is not the whole country. And large percentage of Americans have been vaccinated – we are ready to ditch “lockdown fatigue!”

May is a month of many health holidays. They range from promoting awareness of arthritis to skin health. It is really the month during which we get back into the swing of things. We start to exercise more. Physical activity is one of the observances for the month. It is important for overall health and mental health. The lack of it can lead to conditions that threaten our health such as obesity, diabetes, ability to get around, and depression. One of the problems that we saw during the pandemic was an increase in mental health issues. Because of the limited contact with others to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there’s been an increase in depression and a sense of isolation for many. Our physical activity was diminished as we did not go the gym or exercise. This led to us gaining weight, “the COVID 15” as it is called. As we move back toward normal, we must be careful. Make sure the increased physical activity is safe to do. A check-up or check-in with your doctor may be needed.

When we are out in the sun, we cannot forget to protect ourselves from sunburn. Dress appropriately with clothes that cover the arms, legs, and a hat for the head. When that is not appropriate, use sunblock. Dermatologists recommend using sunblock that are rated SPF 30. At this rating, 97% of the harmful UVB rays will be blocked. Not much is gained by using a higher SPF. Sunburns are most likely to happen in late spring or early summer when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

In May, a lot of health concerns come together spanning both physical and mental health. Caution is needed as we get back to our new normal. We can relax the social distancing if fully vaccinated for some activities, especially those outside. And while doing so, we must be careful not to injure ourselves with the returning physical activity. Happy spring!