WILMINGTON — With summer in full swing, many of us are taking full advantage of this fun time of year, whether it’s hitting the road for a family vacation, getting out on the water, organizing pick-up games in the park or taking an early evening neighborhood stroll.
However you choose to enjoy this season, following some key safety tips can help you ensure that this summer is a safe and healthy one.
Heat Safety Did you know that heat is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S.?
It’s essential that we stay heat smart. Heat overexposure is especially dangerous for children and seniors, and it is crucial that we all know how to protect ourselves from the sun’s rays at all times of the year.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps we can take to help prevent heat-related illness as we enjoy the outdoors. Beat the heat with these cool tips:
• Be aware of temperature and humidity levels and modify your activity accordingly
• Always use an SPF-15 or higher sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays
• Wear sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays
• Limit outdoor activities when temps are at their highest (typically mid-day)
• Stay hydrated and drink plenty of low to no-sugar fluids (water is best!)
• Search out cooler areas outside; and when the temp rises above 90, switch to an indoor activity
• Avoid enclosed places like cars or garages
• NEVER leave children or animals in a car unattended
• Dress for comfort, with loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
• Take breaks when exercising
• Limit or avoid adult beverages (alcohol can impair your body’s ability to self-regulate its temperature)
Water Safety Nothing beats the sweltering summer heat like a dip in the water. Be it poolside, lakeside or beachside, these tips from the American Red Cross are key to ensuring a fun, safe time for all.
• Only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
• Always swim with a buddy
• Never leave a child unattended near water or trust a child’s life to another child
• Make sure young children and inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water
• Don’t play around drains and suction fittings in the pool
• Always be cautious around natural bodies of water – currents and underwater hazards can make falling into the water dangerous
• Wear a life jacket when boating (most boating fatalities actually occur from drowning)
• Avoid alcohol use around pools and bodies of water
If you have a pool or hot tub, or live near a body of water, keep reach-and-throw equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit nearby.
Travel Safety Summer is a great opportunity to hit the open road or the friendly skies for some quality time away with family or friends. You can help make your vacation stress-free and safe with these helpful hints.
• Never post travel plans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media
• Have all home deliveries like mail and newspapers stopped for the duration of your time away, or have a trusted neighbor or friend collect them for you
• Take minimal cash with you and use credit cards and traveler’s checks on your trip
• Set up automatic timers in your home to switch lights and the television or radio on and off throughout the day
• Double check that your doors and windows are closed and locked before hitting the road (and set your home alarm if you have one)
• Observe stairwells and fire exits when you check into your hotel
• Ask the front desk clerk or hotel concierge if there are unsafe areas you should avoid while touring
• When you leave your hotel, take only what you need for the day and avoid displaying large amounts of cash when purchasing items
With these tips, you’ll be ready to have a safe, healthy summer and make memories to last a lifetime.
For more information on heat safety, visit weather.gov/safety/heat. For more information on water safety, visit redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html.
Sheila Llanes-Diopita, M.D. is a board-certified family medicine physician with Pinnacle Primary Care on Rombach Avenue and Clinton Memorial Hospital.