For most of us, we live for our summers. Grilling, swimming, and chilling outdoors are what it’s all about. The kiddos are out of school and ready to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors just as much as us adults. June is National Safety Month, so now is a great time to go over a few tips to help you prepare for summer so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful weather with your family.
Keep the Sunburn Away
No one likes sunburn, but we all know how easy it is to forget about protecting our skin and ending up with that uncomfortable burning sensation. Keep in mind that the sun is the strongest between 10 AM and 3 PM. Yes, that’s when you want to be out playing, but remember to put on that sunscreen and find shaded areas to hang out in. If you are bringing the baby out, make sure they are in a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing. For babies that are 6 months or older, you can apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every two hours. Don’t forget about protecting the lips with an SPF too.
If you do get sunburned, you can use aloe, and over-the-counter pain relievers to help keep you comfortable. Always make sure to read the directions to make sure they appropriate for your family.
Heat Exhaustion is Nothing to Mess Around With
We all want to play in the sun and can get caught up in the fun and games. Heat exhaustion is no joke. As the temperatures rise, heat exhaustion can become a concern. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, extreme thirst and muscle cramping.
If you feel like you or a family member are showing signs of heat exhaustion, have them lay down in a cool place, rehydrate with fluids cool the body down by spraying them with cold water. If ice packs are available, it’s helpful to use them in the groin and armpit areas to help accelerate the cooling process. Medical attention may be needed if the body temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher. If you suspect a heatstroke, call 911 immediately.
Make Water Safety a Priority
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental deaths for children ages 1-14. Even if a lifeguard is on duty, drowning can occur so quickly and silently that it can happen before anyone notices.
Many people expect drowning to be a dramatic event with yelling and flailing. It’s actually the opposite. A person that is drowning struggles to keep their mouth out of the water and usually push their arms against the water to try and keep above the water. This will lead to a bit of splashing, but nothing overly dramatic.
Warning signs include:
- The mouth is at water level or bobbing between above and below water level.
- The head may be tilted back as an act to stay afloat.
- The eyes may become glassy or even close.
The best way to prevent a child from drowning is having an adult close by and being attentive. If you allow your children to swim, then you best be prepared to stay off your phone and supervise at all times.
No One Wants Itchy Mosquito Bites
Quotacy is based in Minnesota and a joke that we hear often is that the mosquito is our state bird. Mosquitos love stagnant water, and we have a lot of that in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. The pesky insect is most active in the early morning hours and the early evening hours. So, unless you plan on staying indoors during those times, you better have some insect repellent handy. There are repellents such as OFF! that contain DEET to help keep the mosquitos away. Always read the labels on insect repellents to see if they are appropriate for use with your kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, bug sprays that contain 10-30 percent DEET are safe for children over the age of 2 months. Non-DEET insect repellents are extremely popular with those that want to avoid DEET and go for a more natural product. Look for products with 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus like REPEL’s plant based lemon eucalyptus product.
First things first, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. Whether you are lounging in the backyard or playing a game of softball, remember to stay hydrated. The heat makes you sweat, which is great because it cools you down, but it also means you are constantly losing fluids.
Encourage your kids (and yourself) to sip on water throughout the day to keep your body cool and hydrated. Remember, caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate you even more, so if you are indulging in one or the other, make sure to drink a bottle of water in between your beverages.
Practice Safe Bike Riding
Just wear the helmet. With nearly 300,000 kids visiting the emergency room every year with injuries related to bike riding, it’s important to protect yourself and your family with bike helmets. It all starts with the parents. If you are going on a family bike ride everyone should be wearing a helmet. You buckle up when you drive, right? Well, strap on the helmet when you ride.
Poison Ivy is No Fun
Poison ivy contains oil that when it comes into contact with the skin it causes an allergic reaction. Well, at least this is the case for 85% of the population. So, the easiest way to protect yourself from this itchy plant is first and foremost, avoid it. Wearing clothing that covers the majority of your skin is helpful and can reduce your risk of running into poison ivy, but that’s also not easy when it’s 85 degrees outside. On a positive note, poison ivy isn’t contagious. After washing your skin and clothes, the rash cannot spread further.
Symptoms of poison ivy rash are:
- Itchy skin
- Hives or bumps
If you or your children have been exposed to poison ivy, wash the area with soap and water and apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. Try to keep from itching the area. If the itchiness becomes overwhelming, try using calamine lotion to help relieve it. If these treatments don’t work, call your doctor for further advice.
Stock Up Your First-Aid Kit
With summer on the way, it’s a great time to make sure you have a fully stocked first-aid kit on hand for any mishaps that may occur. Being prepared is always a good thing. Here are some essentials to keep handy.
- Antiseptic wipes
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antibacterial gel
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Gauze pads (various sizes)
- Adhesive tape
- Insect repellent
- Cold packs
- Infant and children’s Motrin or Tylenol
- Digital thermometer
- Names and numbers for your doctor and hospital
Summer is a time to have fun, so don’t let all these safety tips deter you from getting out and enjoying the weather. Of course you may end up with a couple bumps, scrapes and bug bites, but just be prepared when the time comes. Now, go enjoy the sunshine!
*This post is for general information only. We are not providing medical advice. You should always consult with your health care provider if you have concerns about any medical condition or treatment plan.
Photo credit to: Erik Dungan