The dog days of summer are fast approaching, but do people really know the dangers? Kids play outside daily, swimming pools provide relief from the heat and entertainment events fill everyone’s schedule, but there are some things to look out for. Make sure to keep yourself and your family safe this summer by following these simple tips.
1. The outdoors are great but many spaces lack sufficient shade. The summer tan is nice to show off, but sunburn is a major risk to prolonged exposure to the sun. Sunburns may seem harmless (unless someone gets handsy) but they can lead to an increased chance of skin cancer. More fun in the sun without proper protection may hurt in the long run. Be sure to use sunblock and find shade whenever possible for a quick relief from the heat.
2. While out in the sun, it’s extremely important to drink a lot of fluids, and soda pop doesn’t count. The heat can zap many of the electrolytes in our bodies and thus lead to dehydration, so adhering to the old adage of eight glasses of water per day is a smart choice. (Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember.) Water can help fight dehydration and provide our bodies with nutrients we need to keep going. Sports drinks can also help, but water is best solution.
3. Of course the best way to beat the heat is by swimming. The water feels great and it’s fun hanging out with friends and family while eating out, but pools pose their own problems. One of the major issues is the act of swimming. Little kids may not be strong swimmers and must be watched at all times. It doesn’t take long for someone to go under, even an adult, and struggle to find air. The second dilemma is swimmer’s ear. It’s almost impossible to keep water from protruding your ear canal, but it’s dangerous to leave it there. Water retained in the ear can lead to inflammation or swelling which can cause a painful ear infection. Possible solutions include ear plugs or cautiously flushing with a lukewarm water-filled syringe.
4. Lastly, but definitely not least, is heat stroke. One of the most serious complications of summer, heat stroke is often overlooked. People know it’s hot outside, but subjecting your body to excess heat for long periods of time can be extremely dangerous. Some symptoms include dizziness, exhaustion, difficulty focusing and nausea. The best way to reduce the risk of heat stroke is to stay inside during peak hours of the day for heat, like 4-6 PM. If you exercise, go early in the morning or late at night and make sure to eat and drink properly. Also, if you should experience any of the symptoms above seek medical attention; get out of the heat and intake plenty of fluids.
Summer is a crowd favorite, but be smart and play it safe. Have a great summer! To your health!