21 Jul Summer Safety Tips
Stay Safe and Healthy During Summer
Summer is well underway, and while you are enjoying this beautiful time of year doing all the things you love, here are a few summer tips and reminders that will keep you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and having fun!
Spending time outside is one of the best things to do in the summer, but if you aren’t sun-safe, you can risk too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which cause most skin cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends these tips for sun safety:
- Seek shade and limit time in the sun at midday; UV rays are strongest from 10 am-4 pm.
- Cover up with a shirt, wear a wide-brimmed hat, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher, and reapply it about every 2 hours (or sooner; be sure to check the sunscreen label for how long the protection will last).
- Sunscreens labeled “water resistant” are made to protect you from burning when you swim or sweat but may only last for 40 minutes.
- Lip balm with sunscreen is a wise choice.
- Don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes!
- For babies younger than 6 months, shade, sun-protective clothing, and hats are best. As a last resort, pediatricians say that very small amounts of sunscreen can be used on small areas, such as the face and back of the hands.
As the temperatures are rising, preventing heat exhaustion or heatstroke is very important, especially if you work (or play) outdoors. Here are a few tips from Mayo Clinic to keep your body cool, calm, and collected:
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
- Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature. Fluids with electrolytes can be beneficial if you are sweating profusely.
- Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
- Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children (and pets). When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 11 C) in 10 minutes.
- It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
- Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
- Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, such as a history of previous heat illness, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.
If you or someone has heat exhaustion, follow these steps:
- Move them to a cool place.
- Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
- Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
- Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too.
- Stay with them until they’re better.
Heatstroke can be very serious if not treated quickly. Call 911 if you or someone else are having signs of heatstroke:
- Fast breathing or shortness of breath
- A fit (seizure)
- Loss of consciousness
- Not responsive
Idaho is known for its miles and miles of white water and beautiful lakes. Other bodies of water like canals, ponds, home and community pools, and splash pads are also very common. Drownings are more common than most people think for a landlocked state, happen in a minute, and can so easily be prevented.
Six water safety tips from the American Red Cross:
- Provide Constant Adult Supervision — Actively supervise children and non-swimmers around the water, even when lifeguards are present. Don’t just drop kids off. Avoid distracting activities such as checking email or social media.
- Learn to Swim — No matter your age, learning to swim is one of the best ways to be safer in and around the water. Get your children in swim lessons if they haven’t learned yet.
- Look for Lifeguards — Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Swim with A Buddy — Do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system.
- Wear A Life Jacket — Adults and kids should always wear a properly-fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while boating. Non-swimmers and inexperienced swimmers should also always wear a life jacket when in and around the water. Inflatable toys can be fun but are not a substitute for U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
- Learn CPR — Learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies by learning CPR. Find a class here, or learn online: https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class
Now that you have the tools and tips for a safe summer, go play outside and explore this beautiful state we live in!