Summer’s here! Everyday safety tips for your outdoor fun
Are you gearing up to plan your summer bucket list? As we head into the months of peak summer fun, it’s important to be prepared and most importantly, safe! We’ve gathered our top outdoor safety tips so that you can focus on soaking up that summer sun and enjoying the great outdoors.
Wear sunscreen or sun-protective clothing
While it’s important year-round, it’s incredibly important during the summer to wear sunscreen and/or sun-protective clothing. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable, but sunburn can also increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
When it comes to applying sunscreen, it’s important to re-apply every 2 hours, or more often if in the water.
Check for ticks
Tick-borne illnesses are most common in the summer months. Remember to always check for ticks after being outdoors, especially in tall grasses or wooded areas. To remove ticks, use tweezers and grasp as close to the tick’s head as possible. Lyme disease is one of the more common tick-borne illnesses, and it is known to present with flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, joint pain, fevers, and a bull’s eye rash.
Using insect repellents will help reduce, or even avoid, contact with ticks and other insects.
Wear safety gear
There is an uptick in trauma accidents, especially during the summer. Make sure children (and adults) wear helmets when partaking in summer activities like biking, boating, riding ATV’s, going on hikes, etc.
Stay hydrated while doing outdoor chores
If you work outdoors during the summer, it’s important to stay well-hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your urine looks light yellow to clear. Take frequent breaks and get out of the sun. If possible, try to get work done in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are lower. Look at the forecast and try to pick days with not only lower temperatures but lower heat index, which takes into account both temperature and humidity.
Take swim lessons; wear a life jacket when needed
There is also an increase in drowning during the summer. Make sure to have a designated person to watch when others are playing around the water. Ensure you and your children have well-fitting life jackets on lakes and rivers.
It’s also a great time to get enrolled in swimming lessons. If you happen to witness someone drowning, early CPR with rescue breaths is vital for improving chances of survival while waiting for help to arrive. Consider taking a CPR class for further safety measures!
Prepare for longer hikes and outdoor activities
When taking long hikes or spending time outdoors in the summer, it’s important to have adequate access to water; remember in hot weather you make need more water than usual. If you are planning on obtaining water from streams or creeks, talk to those familiar with the area to make sure they aren’t dry. If you are doing strenuous activities, it can also be important to include electrolyte drinks as well to avoid exercise-induced hyponatremia: low sodium or salt levels, which can lead to confusion and even seizures.
If you are on medications for blood pressure, heart problems, or psychiatric conditions, it is worth talking to your doctor about these medications and your outdoor plans. Some medications can cause individuals to heat illness or dehydration. As with any outdoor activity, it’s also helpful to get acclimated to the heat before embarking on ambitious adventures.
Prevent heat stroke
The most serious medical problem related to summer heat is heat stroke. Any time someone is out in the heat and starts having altered mental status, this is heat stroke. The altered mental status could be confusion or not being able to walk correctly; this is a medical emergency and potentially life-threatening. You should call 911 and work on cooling the person down until they arrive.
Simple things like spraying them with cool water, immersing them in water (if they are awake and able to help), and getting them out of the direct sun can help while you are awaiting more aid.
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