Ah, summer. Time for beaches, picnics and pool time.
And, unfortunately, accidents. The warmer months bring 15 – 27 percent more visits to emergency rooms, according to Kaiser Permanente. Long days plus lots of time outdoors (camping, water parks, grilling) mean that you’re more at risk for scrapes, falls, sunburn, Lyme disease, a swimming scare or even heat stroke.
The good news: You can avoid common summer injuries and ailments with these safety pointers.
Risk: Head Injury
Each year, tens of thousands of people suffer from bicycle-related head injuries. Add in ATVs, dirt bikes and (yes) trampolines, and the number of injuries skyrockets. In 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 107,123 trampoline injuries in the U.S. No matter what you’re doing, wear a helmet; know the safety rules before you embark on any activity; and take a lesson, especially if you’re a beginner.
Risk: Heat Stroke
Keeping cool is important (think shade, AC, a swim), but you also need to stay hydrated (water is better than sports drinks). Stop activity if you become disoriented or if you stop sweating: damp skin means your body is cooling itself naturally; dry skin in high heat could be a warning sign, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Risk: Swimmer’s Ear
The CDC recommends guarding against factors that promote bacterial growth, such as using earplugs or cotton swabs during humid summer months. If you fear an infection, consult your doctor.
Risk: Lyme Disease
Around 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Protect yourself, especially when walking in the woods, by wearing long sleeves, a hat and pants and using an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of 20 percent or higher, suggests the CDC. Don’t forget to check clothing, skin and hair for ticks when you get home.
Here’s something that’s easy to forget: UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, according to the CDC. When possible, skirt the sun during midday hours and pay attention to oft-missed spots like the back of hands, feet, ears and hairline when applying sunscreen. But the sun isn’t the only culprit: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 83 percent of home grill fires are fueled by gasoline. Before cooking, be mindful of loose clothing and children at play, and check for gas leaks or broken seals, as they result in 23 percent of all fires, the NFPA reports.
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By Lucy Maher
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