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Get Your Summer On

Summer's in full swing. Here's your survival dictionary to mastering every skill you need to have the perfect summer.

Dog, care of

Where you go, the dog goes, right? But your best friend doesn't fare as well in the heat as you do. Annemarie Lucas of the Animal Planet network's Animal Precinct suggests shaving your dog's hair to one-inch length to prevent overheating; completely shaving him down will rob him of sun protection altogether (and make him look pretty goofy). At the beach, limit his time in the surf. Not only will saltwater irritate his skin, but it'll also dehydrate him quicker if he drinks enough of it.

Exercise outdoors, best time to

Schedule that pick-up game or bike trek for early morning or late afternoon. You will fatigue faster between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m, when the sun is at its peak. Midday activity also puts you at risk for dehydration and heatstroke.

Flings, rules for summer

The key to keeping a summer affair just an affair is to limit the amount of time you spend alone with the woman, says Rick Solomon, fledgling porn auteur and co-star of The Paris Hilton Sex Tape. "It's tough for her to tell you those three scary words--'I love you'--if you're constantly surrounded by your buddies, loud music, and an open bar." Solomon also suggests withholding your true intentions until Labor Day. "It doesn't matter how liberated she thinks she is. No woman just wants to be some guy's summer fling."

Grill burn, treatment of accidental

So you had a few too many and, confusing your hand for a meat patty, you slapped it on a flaming grill. Dumb? Yes. Serious? Probably not. First, run cold water on the burn until the throbbing stops, and then wash with mild soap and water. After applying topical antibacterial ointment, cover the burn with a band-aid or non-adhesive dressing. Blisters might form, but don't open them; they act as a natural barrier against infection-causing microorganisms.

Haircut, best summer

"The harsh look is out," says Losi of New York City's John Frieda Salon, who's styled the hair of Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Luke Wilson. For summer, Losi suggests growing your hair, especially your bangs, below your nose, then tucking it behind your ears. Can't go long-haired at work? Try what Losi calls "mussed," which means cutting your hair about two inches all over, then running hair paste through to spike it up or push to the side for work.

Hangovers, prevention of

If you drink at the beach, you'll feel pretty bad once the buzz wears off, since both alcohol and the sun leave you dehydrated. The best way to prevent a wicked summer hangover is to drink water before, during, and after you imbibe, or roughly one glass of water for every drink.

Health half-myths, debunking of

It's dangerous to swim too soon after eating: Although you're more likely to get a muscle cramp, or side stitch, in your diaphragm if you swim right after downing a burger, it's more bothersome than dangerous, says Jane Katz, Ed.D., author of Swimming for Total Fitness. A cramp can develop when you exercise muscles deprived of blood-rich oxygen that is being used in digestion. It takes nearly four hours for food to be fully digested, but holding off on those laps for an hour after eating can only help.

You're most likely to get a sunburn on hazy days: Mom was right, but for the wrong reason, says James Spencer, M.D., director of dermatological surgery at New York City's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It's not that the sun is stronger on cloudy days than on sunnier ones; it's that the clouds block visible sun rays, fooling you into thinking there aren't many harmful (and invisible) UV rays. Actually, they pass right through the cirrus, so you still need to wear your sunblock.

Jellyfish stings, treatment of

Remove any tentacles, which contain stinging cells, with tweezers or a stick. Contrary to popular belief, urine can actually jump-start the stinging cells. Instead, rinse the area with saltwater--freshwater will activate the jellyfish venom, leaving you in even more pain. Finally, pop some Advil or Tylenol and stay still; moving the area can spread the venom.

Lobster, most humane way to cook

It's generally agreed that a lobster's nervous system is too primitive to feel pain, but for sensitive types, that doesn't make boiling one alive any easier. The solution: Place your live lobster in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before boiling. Once numb, it'll thrash less in the pot.



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