Summer is upon us… stay safe with these tips

I wanted to write a blog about summer seeing that yesterday was the official start of summer and the coming weekend is supposed to be hot and steamy (as the weather people refer to it as). So here it is… take it as you will. As summer is approaching fast and everyone is getting excited about their summer plans and activities, it’s easy to forget that summer can also be a scary time- healthwise that is. Many people forget some of the essential steps in keeping summer safe. Here are just a few things that you can EASILY do this summer to help keep yourself safe.

1. USE CAUTION IN THE SUN

a. WEAR SUNSCREEN: I know, everyone hears this from their mother, wife, girlfriend, etc about a hundred times a summer, but it really is an essential part of the summer. With the ozone layer letting in more UV each year- from what I heard that is… I claim not to be a scientist- it is easy to get burned or eventually develop skin cancer. And with the wonderful invention of the spray on sunscreen, it is easier than ever to apply this stuff. I highly recommend the Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30. This sunscreen is by far the best spray on sunscreen that I have used- and I have used MANY. It goes on clear and dries fast without leaving a greasy residue.

b. LAYER YOUR CLOTHES: Wear lightweight layer-able clothing. Making sure you are dressed for the weather is key. Even though it might be 100F outside, you don’t have to be in just a tank top or worse yet shirtless. If you choose to start off the day like that make sure to pack along a lightweight button down shirt that you can layer over yourself as the day wears on. Something that can help if your shoulders get burned early on (which could be avoided if you wear sunscreen). Bring along a hat to help shade your face if you are walking around and can’t find shade elsewhere.

c. SEEK OUT SHADE: If possible when you are out, seek shade for awhile. It is great to be out and enjoying the weather, but you can still enjoy yourself by eating under a tree or umbrella at the park/beach/restaurant. This time out will not only help shade you from the sun but will also keep your body temp cooler.

2. BE CAREFUL OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES Ok, first off, lets cover the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion since I am sure many of you do not know the difference.

a. HEAT STROKE: occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive amount of heat and becomes unable to dissipate the heat through sweating. When it happens the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat and it’s unable to cool down. Within 10-15 minutes your body temp can rise to 106F and when that happens brain death begins. If immediate emergency treatment is not sought out, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability. Here are some symptoms of heat stroke:

  1. • Extremely high body temp (above 103F)
  2. • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  3. • Rapid, strong pulse
  4. • Throbbing headache
  5. • Dizziness
  6. • Nausea

b. HEAT EXHAUSTION: a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures, along with dehydration. Here are the symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  1. • Heavy sweating
  2. • Paleness
  3. • Muscle cramps
  4. • Tiredness
  5. • Dizziness
  6. • Headache
  7. • Nausea or vomiting
  8. • Fainting
  9. • Skin: may be cool and moist
  10. • Pulse: rate may be fast or weak
  11. • Breathing: fast and shallow

c. HEAT RASH: Heat rash is the generic group name for a number of skin problems that arise or worsen because of heat exposure or overheating. It happens most often on the skin underneath your clothes and is caused by the sweat ducts getting blocked and not allowing the body to sweat and reduce body temp. Heat rash, if untreated, can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Now that I am sure I have scared you… I’d like to stress that all of those are EASILY AVOIDABLE if you follow some simple tips. Here are some ways you can avoid all of the heat related illnesses:

  1. • Wear cool, breathable fabric like cotton and avoid polyesters and nylon.
  2. • Maintain a comfortable room temperature if you are indoors
  3. • Get out of the heat and seek shade if you begin experiencing ANY symptoms
  4. • Drink alcohol in moderation when in the sun
  5. • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  6. • Do not engage in strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. Try to plan activities early in the morning when it is still cooler out or later in the evening as the sun is setting.

 In the event that you were not able to prevent a heat related illness, take the following actions:

  1. • Get the person to a shady area
  2. • Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can, such as:

o Immerse the person in a tub of cool water

o Place the person in a cool shower

o Spray the person with cool water from a garden hose

o Sponge the person off with cool water

o If humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan them vigorously

• Call emergency personnel for help

If you think you have heat rash, consult a physician and follow the following steps:

  1. o Do NOT scrub or rub the skin to remove the bumps
  2. o Do NOT cover the bumps with ointments, creams or Vaseline.
  3. o Lightly clean the area and leave it exposed to air to heal

** You can check out more good tips on beating the summer heat from the American Red Cross and the CDC.

3. OTHER MISC TIPS

a. Always wear a safety helmet and safety gear when riding a bike, roller skating, skate boarding, horseback riding and more.

b. Never use an ipod or other music player when riding your bike. It is dangerous if you cannot hear what is going on around you. There is more chances to get hit by a moving vehicle if you can’t hear them coming.

c. Watch children around pools d. Apply insect repellant. Insects come out more around dawn and dusk and are more prevalent around wet or swampy areas. Not only will they cause you itchy bites but they also carry diseases that can be transferred easily.

I am sure that there are TONS of other tips and safety things I have missed… but this is all I could handle for the time being. I’m getting ready to head out and enjoy the summer weather safely… I hope you do the same. If you have any other major safety tips that I missed or some that people may not think of that could really help, please let me know. It’s good to pass along information to keep others safe. Have a great summer!!

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