PSI-Summer Time Safety Tips

We all count down the school days until summer vacation, but the season is not always fun and games. There are dangers that come along with warmer weather and smart ways to enjoy the outdoors safety. We will outline them here.

SUN SAFETY: 🔆 One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence can more than double a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF that protects against both UVA and UV rays. Re-apply when the first coat has been washed away by water or sweat. Watch the UV index to know how strong the sun’s radiation is that day. On a sunny day, 30 minutes outside with a UV index of 8 is equivalent to 60 minutes outside with a UV index of 4 in terms of sunburn risk. Avoid prolonged exposure to midday sun, and seek out shadier areas from 10am to 4pm when the sun is strongest. 🔆

WATER SAFETY: 💦 One in four drowning victims are children. And for every child that dies by drowning, there are five more that are treated in the ER for near-drowning. Keep children safe in the pool by providing constant adult supervision. Teaching children how to swim is important, but it does not replace the need for direct observation in and around water. It’s always safest to swim in a lifeguarded area. To avoid potentially paralyzing neck injuries, don’t dive into shallow depths. In larger bodies of water (like the ocean or lakes), everyone should wear a life jacket at all times. And for a worst-case scenario, it’s always helpful to have CPR training (which can often be obtained for free at your local fire station). 💦

INSECT SAFETY: 🐜 Outdoor activities carry a risk of contact with insects like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and ticks. A patient of any age with a known significant bee or wasp venom allergy should always carry their Epi-Pen with them. Mosquito bites cause itching and irritation, but those that carry other germs like
Zika and West Nile Virus can cause more serious diseases. Protect yourself from mosquitoes by avoiding stagnant bodies of water (like swamps) where they congregate, use DEET-containing insect repellant spray when outdoors, and consider staying inside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Avoid tick bites by wearing long sleeves and pants (ideally tucked into the socks) when hiking in the woods or fields. Check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after a day outdoors in the summer. 🐜

 FOOD SAFETY: 🍕If picnicking or setting up a buffet outdoors, make sure you have hand sanitizer available to use before digging into the food. Keep plenty of ice on hand to keep foods cool and safe. Don’t leave perishable food out in the sun (this is particularly risky for foods that contain eggs or mayonnaise that
can spoil easily in the heat), as this can cause food poisoning.🍕

CAMPING SAFETY:  🏕️ While fun and exciting, living and sleeping outdoors comes with some risks. Check the weather before setting out so you can be as prepared as possible. Take plenty of clean drinkable water. Keep food and food-related trash safely contained so as to not draw attention from hungry animals. Never feed or harass wildlife, as this may provoke a responsive attack. If cooking food over an open fire, be careful to avoid burns and use a food thermometer to ensure meat and fish are fully cooked. 🏕️

GRILLING SAFETY: 🍳Grilling accidents are blamed for more than 10,000 home fires every year. Keep children and pets away from an active grill, barbecue, fire pit, or hibachi to avoid burns or trip hazards that can lead to other accidents.🍳

BIKE SAFETY: 🚲 Always wear a helmet when riding anything faster than running speed, such as a bicycle, skateboard, or roller skates. Knee and elbow pads, along with wrist supports, are wise additions for younger skaters who can easily fall and break a wrist or elbow.

HEAT SAFETY: 😓 The three types of heat-related injury, from least to most serious, are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The mildest form is muscle cramping or spasms that result from intense exercise in prolonged or high heat exposure situations without adequate hydration. More dangerous is heat exhaustion, which occurs in conditions of extreme heat or excessive sweating without sufficient water and salt replacement. Patients with heat exhaustion are too dehydrated to sweat and are therefore unable to cool themselves. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, confusion, heart palpitations, and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to the most critical form of heat-related illness called heat stroke. This is what happens when the body’s temperature-regulating capability is completely overwhelmed. It is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention. The heat outdoors is amplified in a car that’s parked outside. It only takes 10 minutes for temperatures inside a parked car to exceed 100 degrees on a hot day (and they can reach over 120 degrees in under an hour). Always be mindful of who is in your backseat. It may take only a matter of minutes for a child or a pet to fatally perish in a hot car. 😓

FIREWORKS SAFETY: 🎆 Fireworks are safest experienced from a distance at a public showing hosted by professionals. Never give fireworks to children or aim a lit firework at a crowd or individual. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. If you must light fireworks, wear eye protection and only light one at a time.🎆

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