Broward College Expert Offers Summer Safety Tips
Summer is the most popular time of the year for outdoor activities, including swimming and backyard barbeques. However, it also is a time for an increased risk of injuries. Jaeson Weber, Broward College’s coordinator for safety, security, and emergency preparedness, is offering several tips for staying safe this summer.
Protect your skin. Sun burns are synonymous with summer, but overexposure to the sun can cause long-lasting damage. To prevent sunburns and sun damage, plan your physical activities during the cooler parts of the day, and apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of no less than 15. A higher SPF is recommended for children and those at higher risk. Once applied, be sure to reapply continually throughout your day. For extra measure, wear a hat, sunglasses and seek shade when possible.
Stay hydrated. In the summer, dehydration becomes a critical concern and raises many associated health risks. To avoid the extreme dangers that are associated with dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, especially water. It is important to avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages as they tend to dehydrate you more rapidly.
Know the signs of heat related illness. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps often escalate rapidly, leading to delirium, organ damage and even death. Typical signs of heat illness are muscle cramps; muscular pains and spasms; increased perspiration; flushed skin; headaches; nausea; dizziness; and exhaustion. To avoid heat illness, remember to dress in lightweight fabrics to help maintain a normal body temperature; avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day; take frequent breaks and always keep an eye on those at higher risk, including children, the elderly and pets. However, if a heat related illness happens, it is important to cool the body down. This can most easily be done by immersing the body in cool water, taking a cool shower or wrapping the person in a wet blanket.
Stay safe near the water. According to the National Safety Council, more than one in five drowning victims are children 14-years-old and younger, with most incidents happening when a child is left unsupervised near water. To avoid risk of drowning, enroll children over the age of three in swimming lessons, don’t rely solely on lifeguards to monitor your children while they are in the water and most important, never leave children unattended.
Keep food cool at a barbeque or picnic. To reduce the risk of a food borne illness or poisoning, always keep mayonnaise and salads with mayonnaise out of the sun, and never let them sit outside for longer than 15 minutes. For grilling, all meat should be cooked completely through to the appropriate and safe temperature, especially hamburgers, which should not be pink inside.