Top 7 Summer Health Hazards
WebMD’s featured story may put a little bit of a damper on the “fun in the sun” va-or-staycation for families this summer. According to the article, Ryan Stanton, M.D. says there are precautions to take in the summertime because a fast pass to the emergency room could happen if one of these top 7 summer health hazards happens to you, your family or friends. Read below for the list and what to look out for and be mindful of your activities while having more fun outdoors and in nature.
1. (Lawn) Mower Culprits
Especially toes, hands, and fingers that get caught in blades, and things like rocks and sticks getting flung out of them.
“People start tinkering with the mower and reach under it to unclog it and forget there’s a spinning blade there. They are hard to repair. Whirling blades cause complex lacerations and fractures. Buries contaminants (grass, dirt) deep inside the wound. Those are hideous injuries.”
✓ Wear closed-toed shoes—preferably with a steel toe—when you mow, along with goggles or sunglasses, gloves, and long pants that will protect you from flying debris.
✓ Keep kids away from the push mower and off the riding mower. Riding mowers are not just another ride-on toy.
✓ Get a professional to service your mower or learn how to do it properly. Important: Disconnect the spark plug to prevent it from accidentally starting. Turning a push mower’s blade manually can ignite the engine.
2. Boating Accidents:
“Drinking and boating (same as drinking and driving), falling out of boats, hit by propellers, drowning.”
✓ Do not drink and boat
✓ Always wear life jackets (especially children)
✓ Brush up on life-saving skills (CPR and resuscitation)
✓ Educate you and your family on carbon monoxide poisoning
3. Dehydration Disasters
Playing all day outdoors, in sun, without proper hydration nearby. Dizzy, lightheaded, heat stroke, seizures, hallucinations and passing out.
✓ Drink water or hydrating (coconut water) drinks regular
✓ Take breaks in the shade (from being in the sun)
✓ Aim for early morning or late afternoon to be outdoors
✓ Head indoors, lie down, cool off with ice packs and cool clothes if feeling symptoms of heatstroke or severe dehydration
✓ Wear proper cool clothing
4. Burns to the 1st and 2nd Degree
Staying too long in the sun outside, especially coupled with drinking and falling asleep. Failing to wear protective clothing, hats, or sunscreen.
✓ Drink water or watered down juice to replace fluids lost while sweating in the hot sun
✓ Wear sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays and light, long sleeve shirts
✓ Stay out of midday scorching sun
✓ If burned, soak in cool water for a few minutes or put a cool, wet cloth on body
✓ Use essential oils such as lavender and peppermint in fractionated coconut oil on burns every 2 hours
5. Food Poisoning
Picnic foods (especially those cold salads and meats with mayonnaise, dairy, and eggs develop bacteria a few hours after being unrefrigerated and reaching room temperature, not properly washed or prepared), elevates risk for diarrhea, vomiting, stomach issues, and food poisoning.
To prevent food poisoning, follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s advice to:
✓ Clean ➜ Wash your hands as well as the surfaces where foods are being prepped
✓ Separate➜ Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other food items (especially from grocery or market to home and then from home to picnic destination)
✓ Cook ➜ Bring along a meat thermometer. Grilling meat browns it very fast on the outside but does not mean it is safe on the inside. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef, and pork to 160 degrees, and poultry to 165 degrees.
✓ Chill ➜ Keep everything refrigerated as long as possible. Store perishable picnic items in an insulated cooler packed with ice, and follow the “last in, first out” rule — whatever you’re going to eat first should go at the top of the cooler.
6. Fireworks Injuries
Any sparkling, “boom”, “pop”, “sizzle”, or “snap” should be handled with extreme caution. Hands and eyes are the two most injured parts when playing with fireworks and crackers.
✓ Keep a hose or fire extinguisher handy to put out small fires
✓ Keep children away from fireworks.
“Everybody loves to give sparklers to kids, but they burn very hot and can cause significant eye injuries,” Stanton says. In fact, a sparkler can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some types of metals. “They can go off quickly and cause burns or just explode in your hand.”
7. Shoo Fly and Mosquitoes. Don’t Bother or Sting Me!
Being outdoors during summer (mosquitoes season), working in yard, concert in the parks and BBQ’s can draw in bites, stings and (life-threatening) allergic reactions from our insect buddies. May result in hives, itchiness, swelling in parts of the body, tightness in chest, trouble breathing, swelling of tongue or face and dizziness.
✓ Avoid heavy scented lotions, perfumes, and floral scents
✓ Wear light-colored clothing with no floral patterns (stinging insects are attracted to dark colors and flowers)
✓ Guard food and sugary drinks like sodas
✓ Use safe and preventative essential oils to ward and repel insect biters: lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, thyme, clove, lemon and orange
WebMD’s Dr. Stanton does suggest people who are knowingly allergic to insect bites and stings to keep an epinephrine auto-injector handy because the pen holds a prescription medication designed to treat severe allergic reactions by tightening the blood vessels and relaxing the airway muscles. One quick jab to the thigh helps slow down a life-threatening allergic response. When in doubt, contact your healthcare provider and seek immediate attention.