The summer sun beckons people to enjoy the outdoors, and by following a few guidelines it’s simple to do so safely.
Drink water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel especially thirsty. Note that both caffeinated beverages, including coffee and soda, and alcohol have a dehydrating effect on the body.
Avoid High Heat
Avoid being outside in the heat of the day. Instead, stay indoors in places that have air-conditioning, and schedule outdoor activities prior to ten o’clock or after four o’clock.
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply it generously to all exposed skin, and reapply it every hour or two and after sweating or swimming. Also, check the expiration date. Sunscreen that is past its expiration date is no longer as effective as when it was new.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and loose-fitting clothing that is light both in weight and color to help keep your body temperature from rising to unsafe levels.
Don’t swim alone, and swim only where there is lifeguard supervision. Enforce a no-running rule around pool decks. Be sure children and other inexperienced swimmers wear a proper floatation device when near or in the water. Consider taking a water-safety class to learn or brush up on information about diving, ocean currents, and more.
Know the Signs
It’s important to recognize the signs of heat-related illness. Remember that babies, young children, people 65 or older, and people who are significantly overweight are more susceptible to suffering from such conditions, although they can affect anyone. Seek medical attention for muscle cramps lasting longer than one hour, profuse sweating or dry skin, dizziness, headache, high fever, nausea, fainting, confusion, or shallow breathing.
Avoid Bug Bites
Use an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to help avoid mosquito bites and protect against the serious and sometimes deadly West Nile virus.
The staff at St. Lucie Medical Center wishes you a safe and fun-filled summer. If you have any medical concerns, feel free to contact us. Visit us online or call Consult-A-Nurse® at 1-800-449-8345 for a physician referral.