We often think of summer as the healthiest time of year because we are free of the threat of winter colds and flu. No doubt, warm weather makes us feel better, but summer also brings a few health risks. Fortunately, they are easy to avoid — no shots required. Try this advice to feel great and have fun all summer long.

Banish the bugs, safely. Bug bites can produce anything from an annoying itch to a serious allergic reaction, even if you never leave your backyard. But repellents can also cause severe health problems. 

Never spray formulas containing DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide), such as OFF!® , anywhere near your face and do not inhale the spray. If you’re in an area with light mosquito infestation, you might try OFF!® Clip-On™.

The Badger line of organic bug repellents gets great consumer reviews and is safe for kids. And many still swear by good, old Avon Skin So Soft.

If a bug bite produces hives, trouble breathing or facial swelling, get to the emergency room. You could be having a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Drink often. When you’re shopping, hiking, or doing just about anything outdoors in the summer heat, it is easy to become dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water or juice to stay hydrated and take shade breaks. Print out the Mayo Clinic’s quick list of heatstroke symptoms and keep it handy to be safe.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect us from damaging sunrays. (Peter Griffith)

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect us from damaging sunrays. (Peter Griffith)

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Yes, black women are less likely to get skin cancer, but we do have a skin cancer risk. Tanning also destroys elastin, which increases sagging and wrinkling.

Best choice: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 daily anti-aging primer with sunscreen. This stuff reportedly works miracles. It blurs lines, blots oil all day, sets your make-up and protects you from the sun at a high SPF without that chalky residue many products leave behind. It’s perfect for brown skin. A $39.99 tube lasts months and it can often be found on sale at CVS drugstores or Ulta Stores.

Be sure to pick out a cute, wide-brimmed hat for extra protection.

Prevent travel troubles. Whether you’re planning a weekend beach getaway or the adventure trek of a lifetime, be sure to:

1. See your doctor, if you have a chronic health problem, before you leave home. Make sure you’re ready to travel, fill any medications you will need and get advice about any precautions you should take.

2. Pack a DIY first-aid kit tailored to your needs. If you’re prone to allergies, for example, be sure to include Benadryl. Also tuck in an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness meds, Band-Aids, antiseptic cream, and something for an upset stomach.

3. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Yellow Book, if you’re going out of the country. It’s updated each year with advice on health risks in different parts of the world and other important information.

About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being

We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.

To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.