"There's 104 days of summer vacation til school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it."
-- Phineas and Ferb
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We cannot all be as fortunate as Phineas and Ferb and spend our summer days finding mummies, building rockets and climbing the Eiffel Tower. The long-awaited summer often falls inevitably more along the lines of boredom, blistering lobster-like sunburns and bites that are just begging to be scratched.
However this is reality and teens will gladly accept summer any day over homework, waking up early and cramming for tests. So while we have these approximately 104 days of summer vacation, we should make the most of them.
And using the following summer survival tips will help you to enjoy these school-free days to their fullest.
Summer, at last, has begun. After a rough beginning filled with rain, rain and more rain, the sun has decided to grace us with its presence.
We can all cross our fingers that the sun is here to stay but if not, summer storms shouldn't hinder you from fun. You can use this as an opportunity to take advantage of indoor activities. For example, go to an indoor pool, drag out the board games or maybe even catch up on some chores (not the most fun, but this way they'll be done when the weather is nicer!)
Or you can pull out old photographs and laugh at them, or best of all get out there and dance in the rain.
Burn, baby, burn
The sun can be a best friend when you're in need of a tan. Too much exposure to the UV radiation can also make the sun your worst enemy when it turns you into a lobster. Everyone has been sunburned at some point and will agree it is NOT fun.
Sunburns appear about 2 hours after exposure to the sun. At this time you should get out of the sun and cover exposed skin. Medications such as ibuprofen offer relief when taken early.
There are many commercial aloe based lotions available, too. A spray-on product is easier to apply; heavy creams and gels that require rubbing onto the skin may cause irritation and be difficult to put on if you are in pain.
Prevention of sunburn is best done by trying to avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are hottest. If you are outside then, diligently apply sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher every 2 hours. Simply applying sunscreen once while you are swimming and sweating is not enough to protect you.
Bites out of fun
It comes when you least expect it. You're enjoying an evening outside watching the sunset and out of nowhere your blood is wrongfully taken from you and you didn't even see it coming
What was it? A mosquito bite, followed by redness, swelling and itching. The No. 1 thing you are going to want to do is scratch it! But do not scratch it! Scratching will only make it itch worse and take longer for the bite to heal.
To ease the itch of a mosquito bite there a number of over-the-counter treatments available. Calamine lotions and cortisone creams will work or topical anesthetics containing pramoxine can be taken for relief.
Some mosquitoes transmit dangerous diseases such as the West Nile virus, so prevention of mosquito bites in the first place is a factor you should take into consideration as well. One option is to stay inside the entire summer covered head to toe in clothing, exposing no skin. Of course, this is far from desirable and chances are you may still get bitten. Therefore your best option is some sort of bug repellent that will make your skin unappetizing to hungry mosquitoes.
Spiking a fever
When you get a cold in the winter you snuggle up on the couch wrapped in blankets and eat your chicken noodle soup. However in the summer, when you get a cold it isn't cold outside -- it's hot, so wrapping up in blankets and eating chicken noodle soup are not practical.
While your friends are out and about jumping into swimming pools and enjoying barbecues and night games you're stuck inside with a box of tissues and cough drops. It is not fair and it can put a damper on your summer. However, if you've got a cold you need to be inside resting, allowing your illness to run its course and your body to get better. Staying out late and enjoying all the summer festivities will not only prolong your illness but may also spread it to others.
To avoid summer colds, you can eat oranges to get more Vitamin C; also, gargle with mouthwash to kill the bacteria in your mouth and throat. You should also get out into the sun; sitting in air conditioned room all day opens your nostrils up to a number of viruses.
Even if we cannot spend our summers like Phineas and Ferb we can and should make them memorable, without letting little bumps in the road like summer colds and sunburns get in the way.
Caitlynn Kindall will be a junior at Ogden High School this fall. She enjoys softball, debate and being outdoors. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.