Content Provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team
As the days start to warm up and become longer, it’s natural to gravitate outdoors for play, activities, travel, and adventures. This is an important time to incorporate and practice safety measures to maximize enjoyment and avoid chances for bug bites, water risks, sunburns, and other summer activity dangers.
When preparing for summer fun, keep these tips on sun and activity safety in mind.
According to the American Cancer Society, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds, are the number one cause of skin cancer. Too much exposure can also cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles. Take precaution and consider incorporating the following:
- Cover Up – While in the sun, be sure to cover as much skin as possible with clothing and a wide-brim hat.
- Sunglasses – Choose sunglasses that shield at least 99% of UV rays to protect eyes.
- Sunscreen – Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30. Be sure to reapply often when swimming or exercising.
- Shade – When possible, limit direct exposure to the sun, especially when UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Take these steps to enjoy a safe and healthy summer.
- Bug Aware – Ticks and mosquitoes are two pesky bugs that can spread disease. Use recommended EPA bug repellent, keep skin covered, and wear a hat, especially in heavily wooded areas.
- Stay Cool – Keep hydrated. Take breaks and get out of the sun during the hottest time of the day.
- Water & Boating – Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while boating. Have a swimming buddy, and avoid unfamiliar areas when swimming in a lake, river, or ocean. Follow the rules, and be on guard to ensure safety for everyone.
- Playground – Keep an eye on young children to ensure their safety. Check playground equipment to ensure it is not too hot to play on – contact burns can happen within a few seconds.
- Fun on Wheels – Wear a helmet while biking, skateboarding, or rollerblading, and stay on paths or designated areas.
- Poisonous Plants – A misstep off the trail could put one in contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or other poisonous plants. Become familiar with what might lie in the environment and avoid contact.
- Fire – Fireworks, campfires, and grilling are all fun summer activities. Know how to extinguish a fire and have the right tools and water on hand for doing so. Keep pets and children at a safe distance.
Outdoor activities are a healthy way to spend your time. Whether hiking, fishing, camping, or enjoying other summer activities, it is always a good idea to provide a friend or family member an itinerary before heading out. Take time to prepare, plan ahead, and learn first aid, should an urgent situation occur. Lastly, make a list, (sunscreen, water, first aid kit, snacks, etc.) of everything that might be needed before heading out on that next summer adventure.