Loaded with swimming parties, outdoor fun and cookouts, summer is often the most anticipated season of the year. But the warmer weather is not without hazards. Be on guard for these five summer hazards to ensure that you and your family enjoy a healthy season.
1) Disease-Carrying Insects
These include mosquitoes that transmit West Nile encephalitis and ticks that spread Lyme disease.
For mosquitoes, avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when they’re most active. For further mosquito and tick protection, use insect repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include body aches, fatigue, fever and headaches. Left untreated, it can lead to more severe health problems and can even be fatal. Protect yourself from ticks by avoiding bushy and wooded areas or by wearing protective clothing in those tick-prone areas.
2) Skin Damage
According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, barely one-third of Americans regularly use sunscreen. Protect your skin by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and broad spectrum protection, to shield against both the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
Plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of day. The sun’s rays are most powerful and damaging between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
3) Dehydration, Heat Exhaustion and Other Heat-related Illnesses
People who don't drink enough water in hot weather can suffer from headache, nausea, dizziness and goose bumps, which are all signs of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can advance to potentially fatal heatstroke. Heatstroke causes people to become confused and lose consciousness.
To avoid overheating and dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. The goal is to take in more fluids than you lose.
4) Food Poisoning
FIC News reported that the Food and Drug Administration estimates there are roughly 48 million cases of food poisoning in the United States every year. These cases spike in the summer time.
If a picnic is in your plans, remember not to leave perishable food at room temperature for longer than four hours. To protect yourself from food poisoning, refrigerate the food beforehand and keep it chilled until it’s time to eat or grill it.
And don’t forget to use a thermometer to check that grilled meat is at the proper internal temperature. This ensures that the harmful bacteria has been killed.
Sadly, each day in the United States, about 10 people die of unintentional drowning, according to the CDC. Don’t let this happen to your family.
The New York Times cautioned people not to swim alone, and to always watch children around water. They urged readers to make sure their pools are protected by fences and safety gates that young children cannot open.
Watching for these seasonal hazards will help make it a great summer for you and your family.
Brody, Jane E. "This Summer, Safety First." Well This Summer Safety First Comments. 19 May 2014. Web. 17 June 2015.
Delgado, Joel. "5 South Florida Summer Hazards (and How to Minimize the Risks)." News at FIU Florida International University. Web. 17 June 2015.
Stenson, Jacqueline. "Play It Safe This Summer." Msnbc.com. 3 June 2006. Web. 17 June 2015.
Welch, Ashley. "Summer Health and Safety: 5 Mistakes You Dont Want to Make." CBSNews. CBS Interactive. Web. 17 June 2015.
Reviewed June 18, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Keywords: summer, hazards, mosquitoes, ticks, Lyme disease, sunscreen, dehydration, heat exhaustion, water, heatstroke, food poisoning, drowning