Here’s one of my favorite summer jokes for you. Do fish get a summer vacation? No, because they’re always in school! Get it? They travel in “schools.” No? Whatever…I think I’m funny!
Seriously, though, summertime makes me happy. The sun is out, the weather is warm, and we can spend lots of time outside. Whether having fun at the beach, hanging out by the pool, camping, or some other outdoor activity, keep remedies on-hand for those summertime issues that can lessen your fun.
With an employer-sponsored healthcare benefit account, like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), you can stock up on products for yourself and your family to help avoid the summertime blues. So … don’t sweat it!
Are you going camping? Do your kids play sports? Do you like to go on road trips? All of these activities come with a risk of injury. Don’t forget that you can buy first aid kits and many over-the-counter supplies with your FSA or HSA. Eligible items include bandages, gauze, medical adhesive tape, cold compresses, thermometers, and more. The American Red Cross recommends keeping a first aid kit in your vehicle for emergencies. Here are some tips for building your first aid kit.
Many people don’t realize you can buy prescription sunglasses with FSA and HSA accounts! Ultraviolet (UV) rays can contribute to vision loss, cataracts, and corneal sunburns, among other health problems. Make sure to add anti-UV coating to your new prescription specs.
Speaking of harmful UV rays, young or old, everyone should protect their skin. An estimated 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. But you can buy protective sunscreen with an FSA or HSA. When buying sunscreen, look for:
It’s also a good idea to check the expiration date on the sunscreen you have at home. The FDA only requires sunscreens to maintain their original strength for three years. Click here for sunscreen FAQs.
Did you spend too much time in the sun, and now people are making lobster jokes? Much like some people think of my jokes, sunburns are not funny. They can be pretty painful, and your skin may need some relief. Many topical aloe vera gels (some containing Lidocaine) and other sunburn relief products can be purchased using your FSA or HSA.
Folks know they need to protect their skin, but many overlook the need to protect their lips until feeling them start to chap. In addition to sunscreen, you need to apply a lip balm, and if the lip balm has an SPF rating of 15 or higher, it’s an eligible expense for FSA and HSA accounts. Be sure to apply throughout the day to get enough protection.
Have the mosquitoes and chiggers been treating you like a buffet? Pick up some anti-itch creams and antiseptics with your benefit account funds.
Warm weather brings people outside to enjoy games, sports, and exercise. More activity means more chance of injury, like strains, sprains, and breaks, but your healthcare benefit account can make finding relief a lot more painless than it would be otherwise. Eligible items include canes, crutches, wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, and foot support inserts. Some ice packs and heat wraps are also eligible.
Use your benefit dollars wisely to be ready for whatever health issues come your way as summer fun continues. Remember, you can use your benefits debit card online and in-store at pharmacies and other approved retailers. And if you’re traveling, remember to bring your debit card along!