hiking in summer
Image Source: Sean Moran-Wikimedia Commons
This article waslast modified on June 11, 2019.

Summer is here again. That means more outside activities, fun in the sun, and vacation travel. Read relevant content on Lab Tests Online and stay on top of your health this summer.

Be Careful in the Sun

Image of Skin with Melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but it is also the most serious. While only 4% of all skin cancers are melanoma, it causes 75% of skin cancer deaths.

While fair-skinned people are more likely to develop melanoma, it can affect people of all skin colors. The number of new melanoma cases has been increasing over the last 30 years. From 1982 to 2011, the rate of melanoma in Americans doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 65,000 people were diagnosed and over 9,000 people died of melanomas of the skin in the U.S. in 2012.

Avoiding sun exposure and tanning beds is the best way to prevent melanoma. For people who develop melanoma, surgically removing the lesion is typically the first treatment option. Learn more about melanoma.
Image credit: National Cancer Institute, Public Domain

Prevent Travelers' Diseases

Some diseases may be acquired when traveling away from home, especially from a developed or industrialized area to a less developed area. Every travel destination and each geographical location has its health risks.

Traveling by plane

Travelers' diseases caused by microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites can be acquired in a variety of ways, such as through contaminated food or water, from animal droppings or animal bites, and from soil. Physical contact with infected animals or animal hides can also put a person at risk. 

If you are planning a trip abroad or to another part of the country, educate yourself about your destinations and discuss any health concerns with your healthcare practitioner. Read more about travelers' diseases. Image credit: Rene Ehrhardt (CC BY 2.0)  

Avoid Tick Bites

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is primarily spread to humans by bites from infected deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks. These ticks are tiny, about the size of the head of a pin or a speck of dirt.

Image of a tick

They can be found anywhere on the body but tend to attach themselves to areas such as the scalp and groin. Not everyone who finds these ticks on their bodies will be infected, and many who are bitten will not develop Lyme disease. This is because not every tick is infected and because it can take from 24-72 hours after a tick attaches to transmit the bacteria. However, precautions to avoid exposure to ticks and tick bites can greatly reduce the risk of becoming infected. Learn how to prevent tick bites in the Lyme Disease article. For information on another disease spread by insect bites, see West Nile Virus.
Image credit: NIAID