Safe summer fun

Watch for signs of heat stress

On hot summer days, watch for signs of heat illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. Even when it doesn’t seem extreme, heat and humidity can have adverse effects. Some signs of heat-related illnesses include muscle aches, cramps, or spasms; profuse sweating; pallor; dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting; confusion; fainting or unconsciousness; high body temperature (over 100 F) with dry skin; and rapid pulse. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a break, drink water, and find shade or air conditioning to cool down. If symptoms worsen or vomiting occurs, seek medical attention.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for optimal body functioning, especially during the hot and humid months. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, frequent consumption of water and foods with high water content – melons, lettuce and cucumbers, for example – can help replace fluids lost through sweat. Also, be aware of the signs and symptoms of mild dehydration, including a dry or sticky mouth; dry and cool skin; headache; or muscle cramps. More severe cases may include dry, shriveled skin; irritability or confusion; dizziness; rapid heart rate; rapid breathing; fatigue; and unconsciousness.

Learn CPR

As summer activities put people of all ages at risk, it’s important to be trained in CPR – or cardiopulmonary resuscitation – a life-saving emergency procedure that is performed when the heart stops beating. . If performed immediately, it can double or triple a victim’s chances of survival from cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. However, only about 40% of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital receive help before professionals arrive.

Since approximately 74% of cardiac arrests in adults and 87.5% of out-of-hospital children occur at home, you will likely be trying to save the life of someone you love – a child, spouse, parent or a friend – if you are called upon to perform CPR. Hands-only CPR is recommended for members of the general public who witness someone suddenly collapse. Dial 9-1-1 or send someone to do so, then push hard and quickly in the center of the person’s chest until medical help arrives. Use an AED, if available, following the instructions. Conventional CPR is the next step and involves chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, but should only be used by medical professionals and people trained to perform it correctly.

Protect the skin from the sun

While it’s easy to indulge in outdoor activities, remember to take steps to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Limit your time in the sun, especially during the midday hours when the rays are strongest, and wear sunscreen to help reduce your risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and early onset of wrinkles. Experts recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Wearing sunglasses, a hat, and cool, long-sleeved clothing can further limit exposure when you’re outdoors for long periods of time.

Play it safe

Every year, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 for playground-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Choose parks and playgrounds appropriate to the age of your children and keep in mind the following precautions: teach children to take turns, as pushing or shoving can lead to accidents or injuries, check metal slides before to use them to avoid burns, remind children to be careful when walking around moving swings and encourage them to go one at a time on slides away from other children. Also be sure to use appropriate protective gear for other outdoor activities such as biking or water sports and have a first aid kit on hand, complete with bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes or spray and aspirin.

Swim safe

Whether you enjoy the pool, the beach, the lake or the river, bodies of water can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. In fact, drowning is among the top five causes of unintentional injury death in United States, According to the CDC. Avoid swimming alone, especially in natural bodies of water that are unclear and may have strong currents or underwater obstacles, and do not overestimate your ability to swim. Designating a non-distracted “water watcher”, wearing life jackets, making sure someone in your party knows CPR and avoiding alcohol consumption are also safe practices to keep in mind when you swim.

Be smart with fire

Lighting the grill and setting off fireworks are often synonymous with summer, but open flames pose safety risks. Never leave a grill unattended, always grill outdoors, and keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Regarding fireworks, keep a safe distance when ignited, do not point fireworks at anyone’s face or body, never let young children play with them, avoid re-igniting fireworks that aren’t working properly and keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby when lighting.

For more tips on CPR and first aid, visit or download the Knowledge Booster App.

Stay safe in the water

Spending time in or around water is one of the joys of summer, but it does come with some risks. Stay safe on and around water with these tips from the American Heart Association:

Learn to swimFor children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. Basic swimming skills like floating and getting in and out of the water safely can help reduce the risk.

Learn CPRAccidents can happen in or around water. In the event of drowning, the American Heart Association recommends rescue breaths as well as chest compressions.

Don’t forget the life jackets Water wings, floats and boards are not a substitute for a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.

Secure the poolInstall a fence with self-closing gates at least 4 feet high to separate the pool from the house and yard.

Empty pool toysMake sure children aren’t tempted to play unsupervised by removing toys from the water and storing them in a safe place.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Michael French
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