Ah, summer, the months you look forward to the rest of the year. Fun on the water, barbecues with friends and family, good times outdoors. Just don’t let “go to the emergency room” end up on your list of things to do this summer.
Here are some of the most common summer health hazards and tips on how to avoid those health hazards.
According to the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), it only takes five blistering sunburns to increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. To avoid a sunburn in the first place, protect yourself:
- Apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and a hat.
- Stay in the shade whenever possible.
2. Food poisoning
Don’t be one of the almost 300,000 a year that end up in the hospital because of food poisoning. To avoid the food poisoning, and the horrible diarrhea that comes with it, use precautions the next time you have a barbecue or picnic:
- Keep raw meat wrapped and separate.
- Be diligent about washing your hands and prep surfaces before preparing foods.
- Cook meats thoroughly, inside and out.
- Don’t eat any food that’s sat out unrefrigerated more than two hours.
Drowning is one of the most common cause of injury and death in the U.S., mostly associated with boating or swimming at the beach:
- Learn how to swim.
- Wear a life jacket when boating—and make sure kids do too.
- Don’t drink alcohol out on the water to avoid falling off the boat or getting into an accident.
- Learn basic lifesaving techniques so you’re prepared should the need arise.
4. Heat stroke and dehydration
Being out in the sun and extended exposure to summer heat can be dangerous.
- Drink lots of water or non-alcoholic clear liquids to stay hydrated.
- Take plenty of breaks out of the sun.
- Avoid exercising or working outside during the hottest hours of the day.
5. Insect stings
Stings can be dangerous for people who are allergic; for everyone else they can be very painful. Stay away from stinging insects:
- Wear light colors and non-floral prints to lessen the odds of attracting insects.
- Don’t use perfume or cologne.
- Use bug-repellant.
If you know you have an insect allergy, keep an epinephrine injector on hand.
This summer, no need to hide away indoors just to stay safe. Take some steps to avoid common health hazards and enjoy your summer.