Summer is full of fun outdoor activities. Exploring a park, taking the boat out on the water, or grilling in your backyard are all exciting ways to get outside. It’s also important to take special precautions throughout the summer. Be prepared for the heat with these summer safety tips for the whole family.
Drink plenty of water this summer
Increased thirst, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. All of these are symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion. In the summer months, it’s very important to drink plenty of water to maintain good overall health and prevent heat-related illnesses. Daily fluid intake varies between people and is based on age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status. The Centers for Disease Control offers these tips.
In addition to keeping yourself hydrated, children and elderly people are at an increased risk for dehydration. Be sure to check on everyone, young and old, to make sure they are drinking enough water
throughout the summer months.
Plan activities when it’s cooler outside
When you’re planning for an outdoor workout or summer activities for the kids, avoid the middle of the day. The sun is at its hottest during the middle of the day, typically from noon to 4 p.m.
Take advantage of cooler mornings or plan to enjoy your outdoor activities during the evening.
Protect your skin from the sun
There are times when you may not be able to avoid the sun. You may be gardening or mowing the lawn, or the kids may be running through the sprinkler. It is very important to protect all exposed skin to prevent damage. Sun damage can increase the chances of developing skin cancer.
It’s recommended to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outside. It’s also important to reapply every two
hours, and after swimming. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on the nose and ears!
As effective as sunscreen is, protective clothing is even better (and doesn’t wash off while swimming!). If possible, wear lightweight clothing and a hat for maximum protection from the sun.
Watch out for those pesky bugs!
While the summer months are great for getting outdoors in Minnesota, it also means the return of annoying insects. Be sure to protect yourself against insects like ticks, flies, and mosquitoes by wearing appropriate clothing. This includes covering exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
The CDC recommends using insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET. This will protect against a wide variety of insects. Remember to allow time for sunscreen to dry before applying repellent.
One specific type of insect to be aware of is ticks. There are a dozen different types of ticks in Minnesota. There are ticks that spread different diseases, including Lyme disease.
Prevent food poisoning in the summer heat
It’s always fun to fire up the grill and cook for friends and family in the backyard. In the summer heat, there is an added emphasis on food safety. Here are tips to help prevent food poisoning when cooking and serving outside:
- Keep hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation areas clean
- Keep raw meat and their juices away from other food – never reuse items that touched raw meat
- When cooking, use a thermometer to determine whether food has reached the appropriate temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Safe temperatures: beef or pork – 145 degrees; ground meats – 160 degrees; poultry – 165 degrees
- Keep food cold by serving it over ice. Bacteria thrives in food between 40-140 degrees. Whether the food is hot or cold, it should not be left out more than two hours at room temperature – or one hour if outside and it’s 90 degrees
- Eat cooked leftovers within four days
There is no shortage of fun in the summer. Tri-County Health Care suggest following these summer safety tips. If you’re feeling ill or in need of medical attention, we are here for you! Our Emergency Department, ReadyCare, and eClinic offer care without an appointment. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers today!