Ahhh. Those lazy, hazy days of summer. The kids are running around outside, and the smell of food sizzling on the grill drifts through the air. Summer has officially arrived. But wait – before you cool off in the water or get ready for a delicious picnic, check out these safety tips so your fun-filled season doesn’t include a trip to the hospital emergency room.
Keep your cool and drink lots of water to avoid heat-related illness. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Heat cramps, often caused by dehydration, can progress to heat exhaustion and potentially fatal heat stroke. To protect yourself against the heat, stay indoors as much as possible, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothes; eat well-balanced, light meals; and avoid strenuous work during extreme heat.
Be water wise and teach your children to swim. At the pool, swim under lifeguard supervision and obey all rules. Stay away from water intakes, drains or filters in pools and hot tubs since long hair or clothing could become entangled. At the lake, river or beach, swim only in designated areas. Don’t dive into shallow water and risk neck injuries or paralysis. If you get caught in an ocean current, swim parallel to shore and wait for the current to lessen. Remember that alcohol and water don’t mix when it comes to swimming, diving and boating.
Bake a cake, not your skin. Try to limit sun exposure during peak times (generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and apply sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes before you hit the beach or pool and reapply every two hours. If you do have sunburn, try taking a cool bath or shower, applying aloe gel or other soothing lotion, or taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Redness and pain associated with sunburn may not appear immediately, but you could feel the effects of blisters and peeling skin for days. Severe reactions, which can include fever, chills, nausea or rash, may require medical attention.
Have fun throwing the ball, not throwing out your back or shoulder. Before you start exercising to get in swimsuit shape, check with your doctor. Then make sure you have the right equipment, including properly fitting shoes. Start slowly to avoid overuse injuries such as tendonitis and be sure to drink lots of water. Don’t forget warm-up and stretching exercises. Oops – if you overdo it, first aid begins with P-R-I-C-E: Protect the injured area by not using it Rest the injured area Apply ice to limit swelling Compress the injured area Elevate the injured body part
Pass the salad please, but hold the salmonella, shigella and E. coli. Food poisoning can ruin a good time, so watch what you eat. Cook meat, poultry, fish and shellfish thoroughly and make sure prepared salads (such as egg, tuna, potato or chicken) are not left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Don’t eat raw oysters or undercooked mussels, clams or other seafood. Wash fruits and vegetables carefully. Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs. Common signs and symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Enjoy a juicy slice of watermelon, dive into a cool pool and build your best sandcastle. You can’t remove all the risks but by putting safety first and following a few simple steps, you can enjoy your summer and make lots of happy memories.
And if an accident does happen, Frye Regional Medical Center’s emergency room is available 24-hours a day to get you and your family back on track for summer fun.