We are starting to feel the temperatures rising and the weather getting nicer, summer is right around the corner! When it's nicer out, more people get out and about and incidentally, emergency room visits due to injuries and accidents increase. Let's save a trip to the ER this summer by reminding ourselves to take some summer safety precautions.
1. Beat the Heat
Be sure to keep your body temperature under control to avoid heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Limit your exposure to the sun and be prepared for when you are going to be out with sunscreen that's at least SPF 15 (don't forget to check the expiration date!), sunglasses, hats, and light clothing. Also, hydrate-feel great! Drink lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated. Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as those can lead to dehydration because of their diuretic properties.
2. Water Safety
Jumping in for a swim is a great way to keep cool in the summer, just always play it safe. Never swim alone, and always use the buddy system. This goes for both children and adults. Keep close supervision of children when they are near water (even when a lifeguard is present.) Water accidents can happen faster than you imagine. If you do come across someone who is struggling to keep their head above water, think "reach or throw, don't go." This involves throwing a flotation device to the person or using a long object to pull them to safety. Jumping in to save someone without the proper equipment/training will pull both of you in danger. Even the best of the Baywatch lifeguards wouldn't go in without the proper gear. Swimming lessons are extremely valuable for both adults and children. Check out your local YMCA or Parks and Recreation Department to find something that best fits your needs.
3. Bug Spray
With the threat of West Nile Virus from the gobs of mosquitoes we have in our area, to the increase in tick-born illnesses we've heard about lately, be prepared with proper bug repellent. Dress to limit skin exposure if you are going to be in a wooded or grassy area. Skip the perfumes and scented soaps as they can attract insects. Check your entire body thoroughly for ticks (especially ears, waist, head, belly button, arms and legs). Take care of insect bites to make sure they don't get infected. Lastly, don't forget about your furry friends, they can also get the diseases carried by insects or they can bring the insects themselves into your home.
4. Bike Safety
You've heard this before, always wear your helmet and make sure it fits properly. Also, it might not hurt to take your bike in for a tune-up to make sure the brakes are working, the chain is healthy, and your tires are properly maintained.
They are such a beautiful display for celebrating our country's independence! But seriously, be careful. Back up to a safe distance after lighting all fireworks, don't try and re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully. Don't point or throw them at anyone. Don't place a part of your body directly over the firework device when lighting. Douse used fireworks with water before throwing them away. Also, be sure to have the proper permits and know that fireworks are legal in your area before using them.
6. Pedestrian Safety
Make yourself visible when you are out enjoying the nicer weather. Your safest bet is to stay on designated paths, and always use the crosswalk when crossing a street.
7. Fire Safety
"Only you can prevent forest fires." Make sure to have access to water in case the fire gets out of control, stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire, and keep close supervision of children and pets around the fire.
I think my mom says these rules the best: keep your butt in the seat while the boat is moving, keep your life jacket close by (better yet, wear it), if you are driving you need to be able to tell her and demonstrate the rules and regulations of the water (seriously, we had quizzes growing up), and no drinking alcohol if you are going to be driving or getting pulled behind the boat. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on the boat this summer, it would be valuable to take a boater's safety course. The course is relatively inexpensive and you can take it all online.
9. Home Safety
Few things are better than a summer get away. The downside is that it leaves your home open for people that have intentions of taking advantage of one that is empty. Keep your home secure by locking the door that leads from your garage into your home, and remove any window air units. Ask your neighbor to watch your home while you are gone. Also, keep quiet about your plans. It's easy to tell everyone in social media or the guy installing your new dishwasher that you are excited for your vacation, but any of these people that find out could moonlight as a burglar. Show off all of your awesome photos when you get back instead.
10. Food Safety
With summer comes picnics and celebrations with food. Do you know how long that dip has been sitting out? Avoid food poisoning by not letting perishable food sit out for more than two hours. If it's above 90 degrees, don't let it sit out for more than one hour. Try serving cold food in small portions and keeping the rest in the cooler to replenish later. After it has been cooked, keep meat hot until it is served at 140 degrees or warmer.
I hope your summer is one for the books! Have fun and stay safe.