Summer is here, and it’s a time to have fun and relax! Lovely, sunny days outside can turn ugly, however, if you don’t know the ins and outs of summer safety. We’ve worked out our own set of summer’s ten commandments, to help you stay happy and healthy all summer long.
- You shall not forego your sunscreen, nor refrain from slathering your children with the same. Use at least 30 SPF, about as much as would fill a shot glass, every day that you’ll be outside, whether it’s sunny or overcast. Remember, a child’s skin has a higher concentration of cells than an adult’s, so the burns they get in their early years are the most damaging of their whole lives.
- You shall stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. Simply staying where it’s cool when the day’s heat is at its peak can protect you from an array of ailments, from heat exhaustion to sunburn to heat stroke, which can potentially be fatal. Use the time to explore a museum, read books, or do a craft with your kids.
- You shall always supervise your children in the water, even if they know how to swim. This is crucial, because even the best of swimmers can have an accident. For that matter, adults should never swim alone.
- You shall know how to manage in a rip current. Swim parallel to the shore until you exit the current, or tread water and try to draw attention to yourself, so a lifeguard will help.
- You shall never ride in a boat without a life vest, nor allow others to do so upon your boat. Additionally, you shall never drive a boat while intoxicated.
- You shall protect yourself and your offspring from bugs, both the flying kind and those that creep upon the earth. If you’re going to be outside, cover your little ones with lightweight clothing, and use mosquito netting over strollers and infant seats. Bug repellants with DEET are the most effective in repelling both mosquitoes and ticks, and a concentration under 30% is safe to use on kids over 2 months old. Encourage kids to wash up if they’ve eaten sticky fruit or popsicles, because bees and other stinging pests can be attracted to the sweet stuff and sting little faces and hands.
- You shall educate yourself on poisonous plants, so that you know how to avoid them, as well as how to treat those who have not avoided them. Poison ivy has three pointed, notched leaves per stem, poison sumac is a tall shrub with six to twelve leaves growing in pairs and a single leaf. Once skin has come into contact with one of these plants, there’s a window of about 10 minutes to wash off the rash-causing oil. If it’s not washed away in time, a rash may develop within 12 hours, and can be treated with topical hydrocortisone cream and an oral antihistamine to calm the itch. One caveat: if the rash involves the eyes, or seems severe, seek medical attention, because it may require oral steroids.
- You shall use proper food hygiene during picnics and cookouts, to avoid food poisoning, both for you and for your guests. When you can’t wash your hands, use antibacterial gel. Wash your fruits and vegetables well, and keep them separate from raw meat. Cook things well, and cool things quickly; uneaten food should be refrigerated within an hour.
- You shall keep a first aid kit close at hand, in the event of an emergency. This kid should include Band-Aids, soap, antibacterial get, triple-antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, After Bite, gauze pads, antihistamine, adhesive tape, tweezers, washcloths, cold packs, adult and children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen, rubbing alcohol, and a digital thermometer.
- You shall remain hydrated at all times, and similarly hydrate your children. This is our final rule, and arguably the most important. Proper hydration prevents a world of ailments, including heat stroke, which can be fatal. Drink your water, and encourage your children to do the same! If you’re going to be particularly active, consider a sports drink that replenishes electrolytes.
We’ve been a bit tongue in cheek while making this list, but in truth, there’s nothing we take more seriously than safety and health. At our clinic, we embrace an integrated approach to wellness, treating patients as whole people, with concern for all the systems in their bodies. To learn how we can help you achieve optimal wellness and live your best life, call for your free consultation today.