In 1996, the National Safety Council (NSC) established June as National Safety Month in the United States. The goal of National Safety Month is to increase public awareness of the leading safety and health risks that are increased in the summer months in an attempt to decrease the number of injuries and deaths at homes and workplaces.
Anyone can be at risk for a heat-related illness. The following are summer safety tips to keep you and your family safe and out of the emergency room!
5 Summer Safety Tips
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is another safety concern during the summer months. Be sure to drink enough liquids throughout the day, as our bodies can lose a lot of water through perspiration when it gets hot out.
- Protect your skin. Use a sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade whenever possible.
- Keep an eye on children. Remember to always have adult supervision for children. Whether they’re in the pool or playing in the sand at the seashore, having someone who can help them — should an emergency arise — is essential.
- Wear sunglasses. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light can harm the eyes. Wear sunglasses year-round whenever you are out in the sun. Choose shades that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light.
- Excercise safely. Not only can injuries happen, but heat exhaustion and dehydration can happen more often in the summer months. It helps to be conditioned to the activities in which we’re preparing to engage. Warm up, stretch, gear up, go with a buddy, and remember to cool down and stretch afterwards.
There are several heat-related illnesses to look out for.
Heat Stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the ability to sweat fails and body temperature rises to a dangerous level quickly. It’s often fatal or results in organ damage. Someone experiencing heatstroke will have very hot skin and an altered mental state. Seizures can result. Ridding the body of excess heat is crucial.
Heat Exhaustion. When the body loses an excessive amount of salt and water, heat exhaustion sets in. People who work outdoors and athletes are very susceptible. Symptoms are similar to the flu, and include severe thirst, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes, diarrhea. They may also have clammy or pale skin, dizziness, or rapid pulse.
Heat Cramps. Heat cramps are muscle spasms usually impacting the legs or abdominals, often after physical activity. Excessive sweating reduces salt levels in the body, resulting in heat cramps.
Persons with pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs should not return to work for a few hours.
Please consider all these precautions and tips for the summer months ahead. Enjoy the weather!