Herewith, a newsletter about why it’s good to take a vacation, and how to do it right.
Summer vacations really are good for you
Here’s the surprising part of our reluctance to take the vaycay: It’s not about fear of job loss. Americans grind away in good times and bad because, experts say, they persuade themselves that only they can do their job, they’ll be so slammed on their return that it’s not worth going away, or that they can’t afford vacations (even though many get paid time off).
(But while you’re furtively catching up late at night with your smart phone or tablet, it might be good to re-program the thing to turn off its blue-cast screen light at night, in favor of rays more conducive to sleep−read here for Apple and here for Android).
Besides playing hard, a great summer change-up for many is the chance to read for pleasure. Culled from various best-seller lists and other sources, here are some health-related books for your beach tote or e-tablet:
When Breath becomes Air. By Paul Kalanithi. “A memoir by a physician who received a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36.” Random House.
The Gene: An Intimate History. “This overview of the history and science of genetics also considers moral questions and prospects for future advances in treating disease. By Siddhar’tha Mukherjee. Scribner.
Being Mortal. By Atul Gawande. “The surgeon and New Yorker writer considers how doctors fail patients at the end of life and how they can do better.” Metropolitan/Holt
Lab Girl.By Hope Jahren. “An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.” Knopf.
Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering. By David A. Kessler. “The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, considers how substances such as food, alcohol and tobacco can hijack our brain chemistry and compel us to act against our own best intentions.” Harper Wave.
Number of drowning fatalities that involve children age 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency departmentcare for nonfatal submersion injuries
Be sun-smart and heat-healthy
Just a reminder that the best parts of the season−the sun and heat−can pose their own healthrisks.
Sunburn’s no fun, and there’s no reason to age and damage the skin even more by vanity tanning and other excessive exposure to the sun. The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,380 new melanomas – the worst kind of skin cancer — will be diagnosed this year (about 46,870 in men and 29,510 in women); roughly 10,000 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,750 men and 3,380 women). Melanoma rates have been rising for the last 30 years.
Meantime, heat stroke is a persistent worry when we’re active and outdoors, as the summer starts to scorch. Several hundred Americans die annually from exposure to excessive natural heat. The young and old are especially susceptible.
If you’ve got elderly loved ones or friends, check in on them if temperatures soar. It’s negligent beyond the pale and just plain stupid, of course, to leave children or pets in hot vehicles for any amount of time in the summer sun.