Smart Summer Safety
Summer may be a short season, but the longer days and warmer temperatures make it the best time of year to get outside and enjoy life. But before you put on your bathing suit or get out your gardening tools, it's important that you protect yourself from some of the health dangers of summer. Here are some smart ways to stay safe this summer:
Stay hydrated. If you're planning to exercise outside or are out and about on a hot day, remember that increased activity and warmer temperatures could lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke if you're not careful. That's why it's so important for you to drink plenty of water. Expert recommendations vary, but the Institute for Medicine recommends 13 cups of water a day for men and 9 for women. If you're planning a strenuous or long outdoor activity, such as hiking or running, be sure to take plenty of water with you.
Protect yourself from the sun. Though sun protection should be practiced year round, you must be extra careful during the summer when the sun's rays are the strongest. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly, and to protect sometimes forgotten spots, such as your lips, scalp, hands, and feet.
Drink moderately. Summer sometimes involves more parties, cookouts, and opportunities to drink. Keep in mind that alcohol is a diuretic, which can dehydrate you and put you at greater risk for heat stroke. If you drink alcohol, drink lighter drinks, such as wine spritzers. Never engage in drinking if you are doing outdoor activities, such as swimming or boating.
Protect yourself from bugs. If you plan to garden, be sure to cover up to limit exposure to ticks and mosquitoes. If you or your family members are partaking in outdoor activities, apply bug spray and check each other for ticks, which can carry diseases.
Avoid your own fireworks displays. If you want to make fireworks part of your Fourth of July celebration, be sure to attend public displays versus lighting your own fireworks, which have been known to lead to serious injuries each summer season.
Stay inside during storms. Summer is famous for bringing dangerous and unpredictable weather, such as lightening. Stay inside when you can and be sure to avoid water and open spaces during lightening storms. Pay attention to weather warnings and reports to ensure you're prepared for what Mother Nature might throw at you.
Practice water safety. Make sure to swim only in places where lifeguards are on duty, and never swim alone. If you have children, sign them up for swim lessons and ensure they are never left unattended near water. If you go boating or canoeing, give each person with you a life jacket to wear.
Summer is only here for a few precious weeks. Make the most of it by being safe.