Summer Health and Safety Tips

Summer is one of the best times of the year no matter what your age. The weather is warmer, there is more sun and less rain, the days are longer and there are plenty of fun activities in which to partake. Simply put, you probably spend a lot more time outdoors during the summer. However, it’s just as important to stay safe as it is to have fun. There are certain tips you can keep in mind to enjoy a safe summer.

Enjoy the Sun Safely

If you are going to be outside in the sun for any length of time, it’s important to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. This reduces both your risk of a sunburn and skin cancer. Here are the steps to take to protect your skin from UV rays:

• Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all skin that is exposed. Make sure it hasn’t expired and only use sunscreen that is still good. You may also want to put lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher to your lips.
• Limit your exposure to the sun from the hours between 10 AM to 4 PM. During these hours, the sun is strongest and there is more risk of its UV rays doing harm.
• Wear looser and lighter-colored clothing, a pair of sunglasses with a high UV rating and a hat with a brim to protect your face and eyes.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

During the summer, there are a number of outdoor activities to enjoy. Camping, hiking, biking, skating and gardening are all fun activities that can help you get exercise and enjoy nature at the same time. Of course, there are also risks when you engage in these tasks. There are hazards in the form of ticks, mosquitoes and poisonous plants such as poison ivy and poison oak. It’s important to wear the right clothing to better prevent pests from putting a damper on your outdoor fun. Wear light colors and long sleeves and long pants and wear lotions and sprays that can repel them. As for poisonous plants, the best way to avoid them is to educate yourself on how they look.

If you do come into contact with a tick, it’s important to know how to remove it. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Removing them as soon as possible can reduce your risk of these illnesses. Never handle a tick with your bare hands and follow these steps instead:

• Use tweezers to remove a tick
• Grab the tick by its mouth from as close to your skin as possible and pull it straight out while avoiding a twisting motion
• Put the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol if it’s necessary to identify whether it carries diseases later on
• Wash the bite site completely with soap and water
• Immediately contact your doctor if you develop a rash or other adverse symptoms

There are certain steps you should take if you come into contact with poisonous plants as well. They include the following:

• Immediately wash skin rashes with soap and water
• Use itch relief creams or lotions or over-the-counter oral antihistamines or take a cool bath or apply cool wet compresses
• See your doctor if your rash covers the majority of your body or worsens, especially if you get large blisters filled with fluid

Biking

If you ride a bicycle during the summer, it’s important to ride smartly and take certain safety precautions. They include the following:

• Always ride with traffic on the right side of the road and obey the rules of the road. Use hand signals whenever you turn
• Wear a helmet at all times
• Equip your bicycle with reflectors and a headlight and wear reflective clothing
• Keep children on the sidewalk until they are over the age of 12

Water Safety

Summer is a time when it’s common to go into the water, whether it’s a pool, lake or the beach. Be wise about water safety by following these tips:

• Never swim alone and obey rules and regulations
• Learn basic swimming skills
• Avoid diving in shallow water and going into the water during a storm
• Wear a life jacket if you go on a boat, even if you can swim well
• Always stay alert while on the water
• Tell family and friends of your destination when boating or jet skiing and carry a smartphone with you