The great outdoors. It is certainly rewarding to finally be able to enjoy them again after a cold and sometimes-stormy winter and spring. Nevertheless, as you (and/or your kiddos) prepare for whatever adventure the summer months bring you, keep a few things in mind to ensure your days are filled with only fun in the sun and not medical emergencies.
Drink Your Water – Dehydration Symptoms
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you’re thirsty, you’re not drinking enough water. Even being a little bit dehydrated can make concentrating difficult, according to a study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mild to moderate dehydration can result in headaches, dry skin, loss of energy, dizziness, among other things; signs of being a lot dehydrated can be fever, seizure, shock, even comas. The moral of this story? Drink up.
Avoid Becoming a Headline
We’re sad that we have to even say this, but since people still do it, here it goes: never, ever, ever, ever under any circumstance leave a child or a pet alone in a car on a hot day. Doing so can lead to any number of devastating results, up to and including death. And if you think cracking a window is a safe workaround, it’s not. Just check out this video, courtesy of a vet who set out to prove a point, about just how hot a car can get in thirty minutes. In his experiment, he had all four windows slightly open and it still took just ten minutes for the temperature to climb from 95 degrees to 106.
Don’t Over-Exert – Potential for Heat Exhaustion
Believe it or not, exercise can be bad for you, especially if it’s particularly hot outside. On those days when even thinking about going outside makes you sweat, save your workouts for the early morning or evenings, when it’s cooler out. And if you aren’t properly hydrated? Don’t even start.
Lather Up to Prevent Skin Cancer
To be perfectly frank, the sun is serious business. The results of a study by Brown University yielded that the likelihood of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, increases by 80% if you experience five serious sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20. You’re best off limiting your exposure to the sun when it’s shining its fiercest, typically between 10am-4pm. And don’t forget your sunscreen. At least thirty minutes prior to going out in the sun, slather on some SPF 15+ to lower your risk of sun damage.
This is not a one-and-done thing. Every two hours, reapply liberally. Clothes alone are not going to cut it—their SPF rating averages at around 8, so don’t make yourself miserable in sleeves because you believe that’s enough.
Swim Smart with Pool Safety
Who doesn’t love a good dip in the pool, particularly when it’s so hot out you might as well be on the surface of the sun? There are the pool safety rules we all should know to follow—like no running on wet concrete or around a pool in general—but there are some lesser-known rules that should be recognized. Never, for instance, swim by yourself. If something happens, you want to make sure someone is nearby to lend a hand.
Never entrust a child’s life to another child. Aside from practical reasons, it’s not fair to ask a child to assume responsibility over the life of another child. If you must leave the area for any reason, insist that your kids vacate the pool until you return. If your family consists of not-great swimmers, insist upon life-jackets…but at the same time, don’t rely on life-jackets exclusively. They can fail. And remember to teach your children safe swimming practices like asking for permission before they approach water.
The summer months are rife with opportunity to explore the great-outdoors. Exercising caution and instilling good habits in yourself and others can help ensure that the summer is as safe as it is fun.
Have questions about summer safety? Call your friends at Advanced Family Medicine. And remember, we’re open until 8:00pm Monday-Friday if the unexpected occurs.