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10 tips for a healthy summer

The days are long, the garden is growing, your passport is current, and the kids are behaving. Welcome summer. Enjoy the many pleasures of this season with 10 simple tips for staying healthy.

1. Make Hydration a Habit
With temperatures on the rise and activity levels peaking, it is crucial to stay hydrated for good health. Try keeping a reusable water bottle with you at all times to keep thirst at bay. You can even mix it up with infused or flavored waters like OWater or Metormint Water to avoid symptoms of dehydration which include dizziness, fatigue and even loss of consciousness in more severe cases.

2. Slather on the Sunscreen
And not just any sunscreen. A 2008 Environmental Working Group study found inadequate protection or hazardous ingredients in all but one of the top 3 brands of sunscreens, including Coppertone and Banana Boat. Protect your skin (and youthful appearance) with a mineral sun block like Badger's full spectrum micronized zinc oxide sunscreen.

3. Don't Become Dinner
Avoid skin irritating insect bites with a DEET-free natural bug spray. A USDA report found soy-based Bite Blocker from Homs, LLC to be as effective as 15% DEET while clinical studies have shown All Terrain's Herbal Armor to be 100% effective for two hours. Grab some the next time the riverside is calling.

4. Enjoy the Benefits of Antioxidants
Now is the best time to take advantage of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables which are full of protective antioxidants. Don't hesitate to indulge in a barbeque (or two) as well. Try supplementing with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, which has cardiovascular benefits like lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

5. Get Dirty, Spritz, Repeat
Whether digging in the dirt or shuttling the kids to soccer camp, keep your hands sanitized with a travel-size spray. Pharmaca carries organic, plant-based options like EO and CleanWell which are healthy alternatives to chemical-laden sanitizers.

6. Breathe Deeply Despite Allergies
Pharmaca carries popular over-the-counter treatments like Zyrtec and Claritin, as well as natural options like Boiron Sabadil for relief of runny nose, teary and itchy eyes due to allergies. Children and pregnant women can breathe easy with WishGarden's Allergy Relief formulas, while otherwise healthy adults can try Allergy ReLeaf System by Herbs Etc. for easing environmental and seasonal challenges.

7. Get Rash Resistant
In warm and moist climates, poison ivy and oak can be a problem for the sensitive-skinned among us. Prepare for your day hike or weekend camping trip with a protective lotion or find relief with a formula such as Herb Pharm's Soothing Oak and Ivy treatment.

8. Strengthen Your System
While some of the initial concern about the H1N1 strain of influenza has died down, this virus remains a public health concern as the number of reported U.S. cases tops 20,000 and incidents continue to climb. Give your body the tools it needs to ward off disease with a preventive formula like WishGarden's Kick-Ass Immune Activator. It's as strong as it sounds.

9. Ease Your Digestive Troubles
Exotic travels call for new flavors. Support your digestive system while away and abroad with enteric coated probiotics. Jarrow Jarro-Dophilus and Probiotic Pearls from PhytoPharmica don't need to be refrigerated so they can easily come along in your carry-on bag or purse.

10. Don't Stop Your D
Although the body naturally makes sufficient levels of vitamin D with 15 to 20 minutes of full exposure, most people are still deficient in the summer months due to sunscreen protection and busy lifestyles. A 2008 Harvard Health Watch report stated, "Many experts recommend a level of at least 32 [ng/mL blood level] and suggest that 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day." This recommendation holds even during the summer months. Come fall, your immune system will be set for another healthy season.

Thanks to Dr. Tolle Murphy, ND, at our Seattle store, for her contributions to this article.
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