Summer is a time to play--with vacations, beach trips, pool days and barbecues,
you can feel like you don't have a care in the world. But you do need
to take care to have a safe summer. After all, those long days will seem
even longer when suffering from heat stroke or a nasty sunburn. Follow
our 11 summer safety tips and you'll have fun all season long:
1. Have a lot of sunscreen on hand.
You should wear sunscreen every day of the year, but it's especially
important in summer, when more time is spent outdoors in the sun's potent ultraviolet
rays. And you'll use plenty of sunscreen--at least 1 ounce (which
would fill a shot glass) is recommended to cover all exposed skin, and
you'll reapply it often, depending on how much you are swimming or
sweating. So stock up on sunscreen that's at least SPF 30 and broad
spectrum to block UVA and UVB rays.
2. Take cover from the sun, too.
don't make the mistake of relying on sunscreen for complete protection--sometimes you can miss
a spot or forget to reapply. For extra insurance, stay out of the sun
during peak times and wear UV-protective gear. And take special
precautions with kids--a sunburn today can mean an increased risk of skin cancer tomorrow.
3. Watch kids when they're in the pool.
An average of 10 deaths are caused by accidental drowning every day in
America, so it's vital to
keep an eye on children when they are swimming, especially if there's no lifeguard on duty
at the pool. Use the buddy system, have life jackets or flotation devices
nearby and a first-aid kit in case of emergencies. (Knowing basic life-saving
skills would be great, too.)
4. Never underestimate the power of the ocean.
Our beaches are beautiful, but the ocean can be dangerous if you don't
know how to spot riptides or follow simple safety guidelines. To
prevent trauma injuries at the beach, find the lifeguard and ask about the surf conditions and any spots to
avoid--and when in the water, make sure you stay where the lifeguard can see you.
5. Keep your ears dry.
Water in the ears from swimming or sweating can lead to the dreaded bacterial
infection known as
swimmer's ear. There are several measures you can take to help stave off the infection--one
of the simplest is tilting your head to each side and shaking it to get
the water out.
Grill and chill properly.
Food poisoning will ruin every barbecue, no matter how tasty those burgers are. Hot food
needs to be kept at a minimum 140 degrees, while cold items should be
chilled below 40 degrees. And if the food is perishable, it needs to be
tossed if it's been sitting out for one to two hours, depending on
how warm it is outside.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Cold beer, white wine and cocktails might all sound delicious in the heat
of the day, but
too many drinks can cause big problems--the obvious one is operating a vehicle while impaired,
but alcohol can also contribute to dehydration in hot weather.
8. Drink plenty of water.
Prevent dehydration--and the health problems, including heatstroke, it can lead to--by getting
at least 8 to 10 cups of fluids daily. If all that plain water sounds
boring to you, jazz it up byinfusing it with different flavors, or
eat your water to increase your intake of liquids.
9. Take the bite out of bugs.
Insect repellent can help prevent bug bites when you're outside, but
you should also have the items on hand (such as calamine lotion and hydrocortisone
cream) that will
help soothe skin if a creature does sink its teeth into you. And keep an eye out for unusual
symptoms such as hives or dizziness that can signal a bad reaction to a bite.
10. Change your workout schedule.
If a midday run or lunchtime walk is your preferred form of exercise, you'll
want to think about switching to a morning or early evening workout instead,
or moving it indoors.
Exercising in hot weather can create extra stress on the body, which can lead to health problems.
11. Never leave a child alone in a car.
Leaving a young child unattended in a car that can quickly overheat inside
can be deadly, plain and simple--and possibly illegal, as states such as California,
Texas and Washington have various laws against it. Cars should be locked
when not in use and parents should always check the car upon exiting so
they don't accidentally leave an infant or toddler inside. And don't
forget to keep your pets out of hot cars, too.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.