Summer is here and you’ve stocked up on an assortment of sunscreen. You’re ready for summer fun, right? Not exactly. At Planned Parenthood we know sunscreen, hats and glasses are a must during summer, but we’re also focused on other forms of protection. Summer is all about fun and whether you plan on hitting the beach, hanging with friends or getting some summer love, you may be putting yourself at risk for things worse than a sunburn.
The good news is, if you’re as prepared as you are with sunscreen and think of summer safety in terms of sexual and reproductive health, you can avoid UTIs, ineffective contraception and other risks more likely during the hottest time of year.
Store your condoms and birth control properly. A hot car or baking beach bag is not the place to keep your contraception. Most forms should be stored at a temp lower than 104 degrees. While your wallet or handbag is most likely cool enough, routinely storing condoms there is not recommended—one or two nights at a time is fine. If the wrapper (and of course the condom itself) gets punctured, it’s no longer effective.
Drink in moderation. We know, it’s summer—there’s less responsibility and more drinking. Consider two things before you let a few drinks turn into a few too many. First, safety decisions are best made with a clear head. The answers to, “Should I walk home alone, drive my car, or leave my friends?”shouldn’t be left to your drunken, worry-free alter ego. Second, it’s difficult to stay hydrated when you’re drinking alcohol.
Staying hydrated is especially important during the summer when it’s not only hot, but also busy. We’re sweating more and peeing less—a combination that puts us more at risk for UTIs. Staying hydrated keeps the urinary tract flushed and UTI-free.
Change out of wet, tight clothing. UTIs aren’t the only infection more likely during the summer. If you plan on spending excess time at the gym, in the pool or at the beach, make sure to change out of any wet, tight clothing as soon as possible. Spending the day in a damp swimsuit or workout pants will increase your chance of getting a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
More water, less alcohol and effective contraceptive — sounds like a summer done right. What will you do to protect yourself this season?