Summer Safety Tips
For many people, summer means fun in the sun. The children are out of school and adults are on vacation, it's a perfect time for outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, hiking, family reunions and picnics. Remember to take precautions to make summer activities safe and always use safety equipment such as seat belts, helmets and life jackets. Relaxation and a change in routine is what summer fun is all about but having a great summer also includes using caution to keep your family safe.
Below are some basic safety tips to avoid heat exposure and possible death:
- Limit outside activities during the hottest parts of the day. If possible stay inside an air-conditioned building during the hottest hours of the day which are typically between the hours of 11am and 3pm
- Drink plenty of water and other clear fluids throughout the day. It is best not to drink sodas, beer or other alcoholic beverages to maintain hydration
- Move your exercise routine to early morning or later in the evening.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater at least 30 minutes before going outdoors even on days that appear cloudy. Reapply sunscreen every two hours while outdoors
- Never leave a pet or child in the car even if you have a quick errand. It’s never safe! Cars can become overheated quickly and become like an oven. Pets and children can die very quickly in a hot car.
- Never leave any prescription medications in your car or in direct sunlight.
- Wear protective clothing as well as sunscreen when taking medications that cause sensitivity to sunlight.
The signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Clammy or moist skin
- Loss of color in skin
- A tired look on someone’s face
- Dry mouth
If you feel thirsty, there’s a good chance you’re already dehydrated. If you see any of the above exhaustion signs get the person out of the heat immediately. If possible, get them to drink plenty of cool fluids and wipe them down with cool wet cloths. If they don’t improve rapidly call 911.
The signs of major heat exposure, also known as heat stroke, include:
- High body temperatures – (over 103 degrees F)
- Poor breathing – if you can’t hear a person breathing it can indicate a problem
- Weak pulse
- Hot dry skin to the touch
- Fainting or total loss of consciousness
If you see any of the above signs of heat stroke or major heat exposure, get the person out of the heat immediately and take them to the nearest hospital or call 911. Heat stroke always requires medical attention.
Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:
- Infants and young children up to 4 years of age
- Persons over 65, and particularly those who have health problems involving their heart, kidneys, or lungs
- Persons who are overweight Persons taking certain medications, such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, antihistamines or any other medication which interferes with their ability to perspire
- Persons who work or exercise excessively in the heat
- Persons who are dehydrated or have poor circulation, reducing the ability of their body to deliver blood to the skin
- Persons who have a mental illness that interferes with their ability to care for themselves