When Houston-raised rapper and reproductive freedom advocate Megan Thee Stallion coined the phrase “Hot Girl Summer,” the nation was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the pandemic dwindled by 2021, the full-throttle potential of the anthem was hard to be felt. Summer 2022 has arrived and social media has declared these next few months will be the “Hot Girl Summer” we’ve been patiently awaiting.
And while temperatures make it feel more like a “frustrated and flustered girl summer” than a “Hot Girl Summer” there are plenty of opportunities to make this season one Thee Stallion would approve of. Remember, “Hot Girl Summer” isn’t reserved for one gender, it’s a state of mind. As Stallion explained it herself, the idea of being “hot” isn’t about a look or likes on Instagram, it’s about being you and doing you, wholeheartedly and unapologetically.
Here’s a comprehensive health guide to having the most authentic “Hot Girl Summer”—Planned Parenthood style.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Summer heat and humidity can cause dehydration, which can lead to a host of problems (like heat exhaustion). Even low levels of chronic dehydration can make you feel tired and dizzy. A simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is by the color of your urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
The best way to stay hydrated throughout the day is to drink before you're thirsty. Your body has lost up to five cups of water by the time you feel thirsty.
And if you feel like you're hungry, try drinking water first. Sometimes it's easy to confuse the two, and oftentimes people will eat instead of giving their body what it needs.
To help in keeping the environment clean and to motivate you to drink more, get a reusable water bottle that you can fill, drink, and repeat throughout the day.
Be Sun Savvy
When outside, be sure to apply sunscreen liberally and regularly. You’ll be helping protect yourself from certain cancers, as well as lessening signs of skin aging (like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation).
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Most adults need about one ounce of sunscreen to adequately cover the entire body and face, and the AAD recommends reapplying every two hours, and after getting out of the water.
Yeet the Yeast Infections
Compared to other seasons, the growth of yeast may happen more in the summer season because of increased heat and moisture that can throw off the vagina’s balance.
If the vagina’s chemistry gets thrown out of whack, the normal yeast that lives in your vagina can grow too much and lead to a bacterial infection. It often leads to itching, burning, abnormal discharge, and other irritating symptoms.
Everyone has yeast on their skin and bodies, and it is normally regulated by our bodies' natural bacteria. But several things may cause yeast to grow out of control in the body which include:
- Hormone therapy
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Compromised immune system
Yeast infections can not be passed to another person and can usually be treated easily in a few days with anti-fungal medicine. Medicated creams or suppositories for yeast infections can conveniently be found at drugstores and purchased over-the-counter without a prescription. If a yeast infection persists you should schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.
Don’t panic just yet, here are some tips to help prevent yeast infections year-round:
- Keep the vagina cool
- Wear loose clothing
- Avoid staying in wet clothing
- Limit time spent in heat and moisture (including hot tubs and pools)
- Do not use soap inside the vagina, it is self-cleaning
- Use condoms
Remember, the best offense against yeast infections is having a solid defense.
Safer sex is all about protecting yourself and your partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It helps you stay healthy and can even make sex better.
STIs can be passed from one person to another during sexual activity. Anybody who has oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, genital skin-to-skin contact, or who shares sexual fluids with another person can get STIs.
Here are a couple of ways you can make sex safer:
- One of the best ways is by using a barrier, also known as protection—like external or internal condoms, dental dams, and/or latex or nitrile gloves—every single time you have sex.
- Getting tested for STIs regularly is also part of safer sex, even if you always use barriers like condoms and feel totally fine. Most people with STIs don’t have symptoms and aren’t aware they’re infected. This can make it easy to pass infections to partners without realizing it. So, testing is the only way to know for sure whether or not someone has an STI.
Advocate for Abortion Rights
With the Supreme Court’s final decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, ending our constitutional right to abortion—it’s important to stand up and advocate for bodily autonomy. Everyone no matter where they live should have the right to control their own bodies, life, and future.
In California, abortion will remain legal and will become a sanctuary state for abortion access. Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties (PPOSCB) is dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate reproductive care, including abortion to anyone who needs it, regardless of what state they live in or their ability to pay.
While we are fortunate to have the right to abortion in California, we cannot take it for granted. Generations before us have fought tirelessly to gain and protect our rights and it is time for us to take a stand. Head over to BansOffAbortion.org to learn how to take action.
Healthcare for “Hot Girl Summer” and Beyond
Do not let your health take a backseat this summer season. There is no need to let yeast infections, STIs, or birth control needs hold you back from living your best life. Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties is here for you, providing high-quality, compassionate health care without judgment. “Hot girls,” take control.
Schedule your Annual Wellness Visit at your local Planned Parenthood to start the summer off right. Call (714) 922-4100 to make an appointment.