Summer Safety

by Dawn Huffman
Mille Lacs Health System

With summer underway, it’s easy to forget to take the necessary steps to stay safe while having fun. Here are some tips to remember.

When planning a day outdoors, don’t forget that it’s important to stay hydrated and use sunscreen. Heat stroke and sun poisoning can happen quickly when focused on having fun. It’s important to increase fluid intake when planning to stay outdoors for the day to ensure a fun time without an emergency. Dehydration can upset the delicate fluid-salt balance needed to maintain healthy cells and tissues.

Sun poisoning is a severe case of sunburn caused by UV exposure that inflames the skin. Symptoms can include red and blistering skin, pain and tingling, swelling, headache, fever and chills, nausea, dizziness and dehydration. Use water-resistant sunscreen with at least 30-SPF. Be sure to apply 30 minutes before getting in the sun and re-apply every two hours to dry skin. Don’t forget to apply to the scalp, ears and lips.

Heat stroke is a condition caused by your body overheating. This can occur if your body temperature rises to 104ºF or higher and requires emergency treatment. Symptoms include high body temperature, altered mental state or behavior, alteration in sweating, nausea/vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate and headache. If you think a person may be experiencing heat stroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 and take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment. Get the person into the shade and a cool area, remove excess clothing, cool the person by whatever means available – put in a cool tub of water, cool shower, or spray with a garden hose. Placing ice packs or cold, wet towels to the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin can also help reduce body temperature.

Another tip to remember is that a child’s body temperature drops quickly when swimming. If you see your child’s lips turning blue or they are shivering, make them warm up before returning to the water. Hypothermia can happen too, even in the summer.

Make summer adventures fun and build those memories that will last a lifetime. Just don’t forget to make safety a priority.