Dr. Cristina Pastuch

Cristina Pastuch, MD, primary care provider at WVU Medicine Morgantown South, wants to make sure you and your family have a fun and safe summer.

Take some time this summer to explore the great outdoors of West Virginia. Here are some tips to get you started.

Explore West Virginia: Whether it’s your backyard, a local festival, an area park, or trail, our state has an expansive landscape to explore. You don’t have to go far to find an outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy!

Watch the weather: Check the weather before you leave and plan your clothing and activities accordingly. Take into account predicted temperature changes or potential inclement weather.  

Use sun sense: Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above to exposed skin when going outdoors. Apply 30 minutes before heading out, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours or more frequently when swimming or being very active.

Wear a hat and sunglasses for added protection. Keep young babies, especially those less than 6 months old, out of direct sunlight by using hats, umbrellas, or stroller canopies.

The sun’s rays are at their peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Playing outside after 4 p.m. may be beneficial to avoid heat exhaustion and sunburn.

Dress accordingly: Dress in cool, comfortable clothes made of lightweight cotton material. Select clothing with a tight weave; this will protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays. You can check clothing by holding it up and seeing how much sunlight goes through it. The less that shines through, the better the clothing.

If you’re planning a hike, wear socks, comfortable shoes, and layered clothing. When bike riding, a properly fitted bike helmet is essential.

Stay hydrated: Heat exhaustion can occur in West Virginia’s hot summer temperatures. Drink plenty of water and take breaks in the shade if you feel overheated. Take a bottle of water with you and refill it at water fountains. The more you sweat, the more you need to drink water.

Bring healthy snacks: Apples, granola bars, and nuts will give you the energy for a fun-filled adventure.

Be prepared: When planning any excursion, pack some essential supplies: first aid kit, bug spray, allergy medicine, and a cell phone.

Get involved: Engage the whole family in outdoor activities associated with a cause. Join a community garden association, volunteer for environmental clean-up initiatives, or register for a walk/run. 

Get creative: Make the outing an interactive one – physically and mentally. When hiking, bring a field guide, available at your local library, to see what wildlife you can identify. Or create a scavenger hunt and try to collect items to bring home for a scrapbook, keepsake box, or art project.

Don’t forget Fido: Dogs always make a fun addition to outdoor activities. Make sure to bring a leash, water and bowl, treats, and plastic bags to scoop waste.

At least 150 minutes of weekly physical activity, such as hiking, walking, and swimming can help you live longer and healthier. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and help get the kids away from the TV or computer.

Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE