Summer is now in full swing – and a perfect time to remind families to make sure they’re doing all they can to enjoy a summer that’s safe and healthy.
“Although most of us may have started out being diligent about sunblock and other protective measures, the fact that we are still seeing severe sunburns and heat-related illness is proof we could all use a little reminder to continue to take precautions, especially when it comes to senior citizens and children,” said Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. “We hope everyone takes to heart the following tips to ensure that the remainder of the summer is both fun and safe.”
Avoid The Heat – The summer sun can cause problems ranging from first- or second-degree burns, to dehydration and even sunstroke. Use these tips to stay safe in the summer heat:
· Participate in outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon, if possible.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored fabrics that reflect the sun.
· Heat-related illness occurs when the body’s temperature system is overloaded. Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include young children, older adults and those with chronic health conditions. Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activity during hot weather.
· Don’t forget to protect your skin. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that is both broad spectrum and water-resistant. Reapply every two hours or whenever you leave the water. Wear a hat and sunglasses for further protection. Long-term sun exposure can damage your skin and increase your skin-cancer risk.
· Never leave children or pets alone in a car, even with the windows rolled down. The temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly and they can quickly overheat. Summer months can bring changes to your daily drop-off routines, so always be diligent about double-checking the backseat of the car.
· Always stay hydrated by drinking fluids, even when you’re not feeling thirsty. Be aware that alcohol and caffeine speed dehydration, and that some people, including those over 65 and children younger than 4, are more prone to dehydration than others. Don’t ignore the warning signs of dehydration – a dry, sticky mouth, lethargy, headaches, muscle cramps and dizziness.
Splash With Care – Not surprisingly, swimming is the summer’s most popular recreational activity. But bear in mind that according to the CDC, two to three children die every day as a result of drowning.
· You can never be too careful around water. Teach children to swim and always supervise young children around water. Be within a young child’s reach at all times. A drowning can happen quickly and without a sound, so avoid distractions from electronic devices.
· Swim with a buddy and where there’s a lifeguard. If boating, make sure to use a life jacket and a secure flotation device, instead of an air-filled toy.
· When swimming in the ocean, be aware of dangerous waves, rip tides or strong currents.
· If your home has a pool, make sure you have a pool cover and a secure, four-sided fence.
“And learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life,” emphasizes Ghurabi.