June 29th 2022

Summer Safety Tips

Great summer weather means lots of opportunities for fun activities with family and friends. But with these activities can also come some not-so-great summer injuries and issues for kids and adults alike.

Here are some of the most common reasons for summer emergency room visits, and how you can avoid them by keeping these summer safety tips in mind.

1. Sunburn

Everyone needs sun protection, either from sunscreen or by covering up. Regardless of skin tone, we all should wear broad spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays), water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply often, especially if you are participating in water activities. For babies under 6 months of age, the best sun protection is shade and clothing.

Also, ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your medications increase sensitivity to the sun so that you may take extra precautions.

2. Bites and Stings

In most cases, bug bites and stings can cause temporary discomfort, but occasionally they can cause allergic reactions or infections that require treatment. To help avoid bites and stings, use insect repellent containing 10% to 30% DEET, which is approved for mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs. Repellants containing oil of lemon or eucalyptus are effective against mosquitoes. Follow the instructions and don’t overuse it – more repellant does not equal more protection.

Stay away from areas where mosquitoes breed, like still pools or ponds, and never go near bee or wasp nests. Avoid swatting at buzzing insects because they will sting if they feel threatened. Always check for ticks after being outside, especially in wooded areas. The most important places to check are behind the ears, on the scalp, on the back of the neck, behind the knees, and in the armpits and groin area.

Don’t forget our furry friends!!!

3. Poison Ivy Rash

Poison ivy can grow anywhere and the leaves often blend in with other plants. Learn to identify poison ivy, oak, and sumac so you can steer clear (Leaves of three, let them be!) You should also be careful around plants with shiny leaves, as that can be a sign that the plant has released urushiol, the oil that causes the rash. Wear long pants and long sleeves when hiking.

If you do happen to touch poison ivy, wash the area right away with lots of soap and water. And be sure to bathe pets that come in contact with poison ivy since they can spread the rash-causing urushiol from their fur.

4. Water Safety Issues

Whether we are swimming in lakes, pools, or at the beach, children should be supervised at all times. Swimming lessons and flotation devices do not eliminate drowning risks.

For almost everybody and especially children, water temperature below 70oF is too cold. Body temperature drops more quickly in water, so it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. Take a child who is shivering or experiencing muscle cramps out of the water right away.

No matter where you may be swimming, you should get out of the water immediately when bad weather occurs, especially with lightning.

5. Outdoor Sports Injuries

There are a few things you can do to prevent most sports injuries, starting with wearing the right protective gear, like helmets, shin guards and mouthguards. Dynamic stretching is a great option for getting blood flowing to muscles to help avoid strains during play. Listen to your body when something doesn’t feel right. Never play when you are already injured.

By Darla Henderson

Healthy and Safety Supervisor