I've compiled for you a handy, dandy guide to having summer fun without owies or the need to call 911:
- Sun Burn
Oh boy do I remember the days of oiling up like a good roast so I could get a terrific tan as fast as possible... We know now that's a terrible idea. We also know you don't need oil to burn in the summer sun. And burning is skin damage, period. Add it up over the years and cumulative sun damage has been proven to be the main cause of skin cancer: Nearly 3.7 million skin cancers are diagnosed in the US annually, and the vast majority of them are caused by sun exposure. The warning signs are wrinkles, a leathery thickness of skin, pigmented lesions, and irregular moles that get bigger and become more speckled and spotted are warnings signs of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Other types of skin cancer indications are scaliness, or moles that get irritated and don't heal.
strong sun for any length of time. Also certain clothes offer greater protection: Synthetic and
semi-synthetic fibers (such as polyester and rayon) offer the greatest sun protection, as do tightly
woven or closely knitted fabrics, such as denim. And absolutely do not allow your grandchildren to get
burned. Oh, BTW, being olive or dark skinned does not imply immunity to sun damage.
- Heat Stroke
Also known as heat exhaustion, it occurs when the body can no longer cool itself down because its core temp has just gotten too hot to handle - it can happen to both kids & adults.
Signs of heat stroke are:
- red, hot, dry skin,
- rapid pulse,
- headache & leg cramping,
- dizziness/light-headedness, confusion
- queeziness/nausea, and
- reduced sweating followed by profuse sweating
The most serious outcome; as the body gets hotter & hotter, your blood gets thick & sludgy making it more likely to literally have a stroke.
Gatorade when in high sun for longer periods, and take a shade break when you begin feeling
overheated. If someone has waited too long and develops heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun
immediately, then cool the body in any of the following ways:
- putting ice packs on the groin, armpits and neck where blood flows close to the surface,
- immerse the body in cool water,
- place the person in a cool shower, or
- wrap the person in a cool, wet blanket.
- Drowning Risk for Children...And Us
For the children: Always monitor the grands near water, not only while by the pool or at the beach, by while in the house if you have your own pool - too many child drownings occur because s/he wandered out back through an unlocked door, then fell into the pool unbeknownst to the adults inside. The notion that a child will kick, call out, splash, etc. when s/he falls in is faulty - they end up face down and make no noise as they drown.
For us: We all know that old warning about not going back into the water right after you've eaten, and tend to consider it an old wives' tale. Well, turns out it's true. When you're digesting food, there's less blood flow in your body which takes away from strength, so if you had to really use your strength for undertow at the beach, or some other reason at the pool, you may have a problem. So, in fact, It is best to wait a half an hour after you eat before getting back in the water.
- Eating Outdoors
To ensure that your outdoor barbecue/meal goes off without a trip to the ER or multiple and very uncomfortable trips to the loo, make sure that mayonnaise and salads with mayonnaise stay out of the sun.
What to do: Bring dairy infused food items directly from refrigerator to the picnic/patio table, and then don't let them sit out more than 15 minutes in the hot sun. Cook hamburgers thoroughly; no pink inside for cook-outs.
- Bites & Stings
Disease carrying mosquitoes & ticks, stinging bees/wasps (w/venom most likely to cause an acute, serious reaction); we know the potential problems these flying critters pose, yet too few of us take the necessary precautions to ensure safety from their biting/stinging ways. Bees/Wasps set up house in the cavities of trees, on rocks, and on buildings. Ticks are found only in wooded areas so can become part of your park experience, and mosquitoes, well, they're everywhere.
whatever is attracting them and let them fly away on their own. If one does get stung, get the stinger
out quickly using a credit card or a blunt-edge object to scrape out the stinger. Use your fingers if
necessary as it's better then leaving it in and allowing more venom to be pumped in to the bloodstream;
also, put ice on the sting to reduce the some of the pain & swelling. To determine if someone is having
an allergic reaction once stung: hives will develop very quickly; within a minute, they start feeling
something throughout the body, and within minutes, you will definitely know that they are having a
reaction. Get them medical attention immediately as the less time taken, the greater the likelihood of a
happy ending. As for mosquitoes/ticks, well-publicized preventions really do work; wearing long
sleeved shirt/long pants & socks/shoes if walking through the woods (ticks) and regular use of bug
repellant (non-toxic/chemical) on skin/around eating area (mosquitoes).
And...just in case you think you're totally prepared, take this Summer Myths & Facts Quiz...bet you don't get'em all right; but, let us know if you did!
You have been officially alerted.