As the seasons change, so do the safety issues we must consider in order to stay healthy. Summer presents a number of safety considerations, including:
- Sun Safety
- Water Safety
- Heat-related illness
Exposure to sunlight is not only enjoyable, but it provides the important nutrient Vitamin D. However, it’s easy to cross the line from healthy exposure to over exposure of UV rays. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result not only in painful sunburn, but can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, damage to the eyes, and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk.
Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Approximately 20% of Americans develop skin cancer. To help reduce your risk of skin cancer, follow these simple steps:
- Don’t Burn: Sunburns significantly increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer.
- Avoid Tanning Beds and Sunlamps: Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, especially if it’s started before the age of 30. Most skin doctors and health organizations recommend not using tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Generously Apply Sunscreen to all exposed skin at least 20 minutes before going outside. When choosing a sunscreen product, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear Protective Clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.
- Use Extra Caution Near Water and Sand, which can reflect the sun, and increase your chance of sunburn.
Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger.
To ensure your summer days include fun-filled water activities, follow these simple tips:
- Supervise When in or Around Water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Learn to Swim–Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
- Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
- Don’t substitute toys for life jackets–Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices. Water wings, foam noodles, and inner-tubes are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Know how to prevent recreational water illnesses. Click here for more information about illnesses from recreational water.
- Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are always dangerous, especially for those in or near water.
Staying Safe in the Heat
Heat illness can happen to anyone and occurs when your body is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Children overheat 5 times faster than adults. There are a variety of warning signs when someone is overexposed to heat, including:
- Heavy sweating. If heat stroke sets in, the body can no longer compensate and stops sweating.
- Pale skin
- Muscle Cramps
- Feeling Tired & weak
- Passing out
- Nausea or Vomiting
If you notice someone exhibiting the signs of heat exhaustion or illness:
- Get the person out of the sun and into a cool area. An air-conditioned area is ideal, but moving someone into the shade will also help.
- Apply water to help the person cool off.
- Apply ice to the neck or armpits, where large blood vessels are close to the surface.
- Remove any heavy clothing.
- Immerse the body in cool water, either at a swimming pool or in a bathtub.
- If the person is exhibiting severe symptoms of heat illness, call 911 immediately