BY DR. DAVE HEPBURN | JULY 20, 2011

Summer


doctor daveAs I recall, the happiest time of my schoolboy daze was summer. My teachers, oddly enough, recall the same thing. Summertime and the living is so easy that I still make a point of taking summer off. Could be in the throes of doing a surgical liposuction but if it’s 12:01 June 21, I will put down my scalpel and suckers. “Sorry folks but summer calls.” Return to the OR after Labor Day with new shoes, underwear and a lunch box with a superhero on it, and finish sucking and sewing the patient up. (Using this technique, I guarantee they’ll have lost weight.) But to make sure we all show up on Labor Day with our superheroes and underwear intact, remember:

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors 
The majority of those who die from lightening strikes were within feet of safety but stayed out to finish their lawn, their shot or their shots. A healthy respect for thunder and lightening means keeping you alive and as more of you are apt to buy my book if you are alive, I am a strong advocate of being alive. Lightning can actually strike well before rain hits, showing up even 10 miles outside a storm's rain belt. Take thunder as a cue to get indoors. If that's impossible, get inside a hard-top vehicle.  Find shelter under a tree, however, and you may never read my book. Once inside, do not use landline phones, computers or video games or you may end up in need of a superhero/doctor (redundant). 

Pet a Bee and Perhaps Not Be 
I’d always considered bumblebees relatively innocuous compared to the more aggressive wasps and hornets. Big, fuzzy, friendly, plush honeymakers that welcome me to my Honey Nut Cheerios. Heck, I used to tell my sons to go ahead and pet them like they were the neighbor’s cat. But a growing number of severe allergic reactions are being caused by bumblebees. In fact, they can be deadly to those who are allergic to other stingers. Three key recommendations for people who are allergic to ANY stingers:
1. Consider allergy shots. Quite effective in preventing allergic reactions to stings.
2. Avoid all stinging pests, including bumblebees, Ali, taxman 
3. Be aware of factors that increase the chances of a serious reaction such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma; and even taking certain medications, including the very common beta blockers and ACE inhibitors.

Don’t Tick Off the Cat
Not to be outdone by the bees, summer is peak season for a bacterial disease in cats called tularemia, an unpleasant illness that can be transmitted to humans if they're bitten by a tick or an infected cat. And to think I used to tell my sons to go ahead and pet cats like they were the neighbour’s bumblebees. Cats eat rabbits who get bitten by ticks, who can host tularemia to say nothing of other lovely diseases brewing away in their wee tick bellies including: Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Libya. There are no vaccines for tularemia. The best protection is to keep your pet cats, rabbits and ticks indoors. 

Lazy, Curl Up or Moe
Thousands of summer injuries a year involve the lawnmower weapon. I personally know that my back goes out if I even think of touching one, so I get my wife to use it while I, being a responsible doctor, carefully monitor her health from my hammock. While lawnmower injuries conjure up thoughts of wiping the blades just as junior discovers a new button to push, there are no shortage of burns either. But every summer it is the juniors who get injured the most and who should never even be in a yard with a running lawnmower. So even if your back is fine, I suggest that you be on the lookout for children, a responsibility best done by male men of the guy species ... from their hammock.

The Doctor is In(sane) is now available in all bookstores, for that summertime, lightening-free, hammock read. Contact Dr. Dave or read more at www.wisequacks.org.