4 Key Tips to Stay Safe this Summer

Four Key Tips to Stay Safe This Summer

It’s summer! Kids are out of school, vacations happen, the weather is generally warm and enjoyable.  There are some safety challenges that are unique to the summer.  Here are 4 key tips to stay safe this summer.

Be Cool

With the summer comes heat.  Most people know that staying cool is important. However, you might not realize that drinking cold water about every 20 minutes not only keeps you hydrated but helps to reduce heat.   It is also good to avoid alcohol, coffee tea and caffeinated soft drinks which can all cause dehydration.

Fashion for the Sun

Dress for the heat.  We discussed this briefly in “Sun Protection and Sunburns.” Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes including a hat.  Be sure to use broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) and even UV-blocking sunglasses.  The goal is to protect that skin of yours from the UVA and UVB rays.  When you are on a hot job whether it is in the yard, a special project you are working on or even for your employer, it is best to work in a ventilated area with good airflow.  It helps with evaporation of sweat which cools the skin.

Think for your Children

Children love to have fun, and they often do not think about the consequences of playing in the heat.  When considering your children, if the heat or humidity is high, limit their intense activities that last 15 minutes or more.  Don’t let them overheat.  Have water available and let them drink water freely so that they do not feel thirsty.  Have them take a break every 20 minutes.  They should follow the tips above for their clothing and skin protection.  If shirt or shorts become saturated with sweat, have them change clothes.

Avoid Heat-Related Illness

Be mindful of heat-related illnesses.  Symptoms can include:

  • heavy sweating
  • feeling faint, dizzy, weak, or tired
  • headache
  • breathing fast or feeling like your heart is beating faster than normal
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea or vomiting

The best way to avoid overheating is to stay in a cool place.  If your house is not air conditioned, consider going to the library or mall.  Don’t push yourself to hard.  If you have work to do outside, consider doing it in the morning or evening hours when it is cooler.  Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you when walking and drink from it regularly.

Have a wonderful and cool summer.  Always be safe and have fun!

Sun Protection and Sunburns

Sun protection and sunburns

Summer is a time that most people enjoy swimsuits, shorts and short sleeves.  However, the extra sun exposure can quickly cause sunburn in less than 15 minutes (thought it might not show up for 30 minutes).

Why should sunburn concern us?

According to SkinCancer.org, dermatologist Jeffrey Brackeen, MD, a member of The Skin Cancer Foundation, says that, “Repeat sunburns put you at a substantial risk for skin cancer and premature skin aging.”

Symptoms of Sunburn

We all know that skin turns red when it is sunburned. What you may not realize is that the redness does not occur at the time of the sunburn.  It can take as little as 30 minutes or up to 6 hours for redness to occur.  Though worst pain is usually within 48 hours or less, the burn develops over 1-3 days.  Afterward, the skin peeling can last for 3-8 days and may be accompanied by itching.

The ABC’s of Preventing Sunburn

Generally, darker-skinned people do not burn as easily as those with more fair skin.  However, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is a must regardless of how fair or tan your skin.

A: Avoid

Avoid the sun when it is strongest:  10AM-4PM.  When you are outdoors, find shade if possible.

B: Block

Wear sunscreen that is waterproof and at least SPF 15 or more. Use SPF 30 or more for children (and consider it for yourself).  Be sure your skin is dry before applying.  Choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  You might consider using SPF 30 lip balm.

Sunscreen should be applied to all areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes before going out.  Reapply every 2-3 hours or more often when swimming or sweating.

C: Cover Up

Wear clothing that covers the skin including hats and sunglasses that block UV rays.  You might even consider clothing made with sun-protective fabric.

What to Do if You Get Sunburned

Get the Heat Out

Take frequent cool showers or baths.  You can also take a dip in a cool lake or pool to help reduce the heat.

Do not use ice directly on sunburn, but you can use a cold compress or a cool cloth.

While the skin is damp, use a gentle moisturizing lotion.

When using lotion, avoid petroleum or oil-based ointments because they can trap heat in the skin which can trap heat in the skin.

According to WebMD, topical steroids (like hydrocortisone cream) can help with pain and swelling, but you should NOT use the cream on children age 2 and under.  It should not be used in the rectal or vaginal area of children under 12.

Stay Hydrated and Rest

Sometimes a sunburn can cause a headache.  Lie down in a cool, quiet room to relieve it.

The burn will draw fluids from your body. In addition, headaches can sometimes be caused by dehydration.  Therefore, keep drink water so that you replace the fluids.