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National Safety Month: Summer Safety Tips

National Safety Month: Summer Safety Tips

For many of us, summer's the best time of the year, featuring time off from school or work, warm weather, plenty of exercise and activities. But every season has its hazards, and summer is no exception. Safeguard against these dangers in advance so that you and your family can enjoy your summer to the fullest!

Heat Exhaustion Stroke Safety

Heat Safety

It seems obvious to say: summer's hot. But in the rush to make the most of your time off, people can easily miss the early signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Make sure you know the signs, and that you pay attention to what your body's telling you. The heat can cause a number of problems, so be ready for all of them.

General Heat Tips:

  • Avoid strenuous exercise on hot days.
  • Work out during the early morning or late evening.
  • Stay hydrated! Fill up on water regularly and before any exercise.
  • Excessive sweating means you should take in more water.
  • Stop for frequent water breaks during any physical activity or work.
  • Drink the right liquids! Overly cold beverages can cramp your stomach, and sugary or caffeinated beverages can dehydrate you.
  • Never leave anyone enclosed in a vehicle on a hot day, especially a child or pet.

Heat Exhaustion

Signs:

  • Copious sweating.
  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Giddiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Clammy, pale, or flushed skin.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Vomiting or fainting when severe.

What to Do: Rest in a cool, shaded area. Drink water or especially an electrolyte beverage (sports drinks). Call an ambulance if necessary.

Heat Stroke

Signs:

  • Confusion or deliriousness.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Dry, hot skin with red or blue tinge.
  • Fainting.
  • Seizures.

What to Do: Call an ambulance immediately. While waiting, rest in a cool, shaded

Heat Cramp

Signs: Muscle cramping or spasms that can occur both during physical activity or afterwards.
What to Do: Drink an electrolyte beverage. Receive medical attention if necessary.

Heat Syncope (Fainting)

Signs:

  • Sweaty skin without elevated body temperature.
  • Temporary loss of consciousness.
  • Does not have the symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

What to Do: Lie down in a cool place. Raise your legs or lower your head to help blood flow to your brain. Call for medical attention if necessary.

Heat Rash

Signs:

  • Pink or reddish bumps along the skin.
  • Prickly sensation, irritation, itchiness.

What to Do: Keep the skin as dry and clean as possible to avoid infection. Take cool baths and turn on air conditioning. Wear loose, cotton clothing.

 Sunburn Safety

Sunburn Safety

You know where this is going: wear your sunscreen. Sun damage to your skin can increase your chances of skin cancers like melanoma. Some tips:

  • Limit sun exposure. Attempt to avoid the sun's intense rays between 10am and 4pm.
  • Apply sunscreen every day. Use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, both before and every 60 to 80 minutes during outdoor exposure. Select "broad-spectrum" products that filter both UVA and UVB light.
  • If you are likely to sunburn, wear a long sleeved shirt, pants and a wide brimmed hat. Make use of shade as often as possible.
  • Conduct monthly self exams. The best time to do these is right after a shower or bath, using a full length mirror and a hand held mirror in a bright room.

Outdoor Safety Swimming

Outdoor Safety

Most summer fun takes place outdoors, but there are plenty of hazards beyond the heat and sun.

Swimming Safety

Kids love swimming, but it can be dangerous even in man-made environments. Teach your children firm safety rules for swimming, such as those suggested by the Red Cross:

  • Maintain supervision: always watch swimming children, and never leave them unattended. If a child goes missing, check the water first. Never leave a child's life in another child's hands.
  • Never swim alone: always go with at least one other person.
  • Follow regulations: listen to lifeguards and other supervisors. Swim within designated areas. Teach children to ask permission before going near water.
  • Use proper equipment: small children or inexperienced swimmers should use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Have reaching and throwing equipment on hand, as well as cell phones and a first aid kit.
  • Proper pool safety: make sure your pool is secured with appropriate barriers.
  • Take courses: organizations like the Red Cross offer swimming lessons, as well as courses in pool safety, water safety, and first aid and CPR.

Insect Safety

Pesky insects are a routine summer annoyance, but don't take them for granted -- sometimes they can be a health hazard. Some tips on dealing with insects:

Use the right insect repellent: bug sprays are handy, but be careful of those containing DEET, which can be toxic in high quantities. Use repellents with 10 to 30 percent DEET concentrations at most, and never on children younger than 2 months. Do not apply these to faces or hands. Non-toxic repellents made with picaridin, citronella, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are great alternatives.

Remove stingers properly: don't pull or tweeze stingers. Instead, scrape gently with a thin, firm object like a credit card, pushing the stinger out in the direction it entered the skin. Relieve the pain of the sting with a paste of baking soda and water, or a hydrocortisone cream.

Prevent tick bites: Ticks can carry Lyme disease, so it's worth taking extra precautions. Stay out of tick-heavy areas, especially thick underbrush or forest. Use an insect repellent. Check your family and pets daily for ticks, and wear light-clothing for easy spotting. Wear long sleeves and pants when hiking or near woods. Remove ticks with a proper device, rather than pulling or squeezing.

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