Health Advocate Blog

Stay out of the ER this summer!

When you’re in the moment of enjoying the great outdoors, it’s easy to overlook common safety hazards. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind:

Avoid overheating! In high temperatures, anyone can be at risk for heat-related illness, whether you’re mowing the lawn or strolling through a theme park. Take extra breaks and drink lots of water–don’t wait until you are thirsty. Don’t ignore dizziness, nausea, fatigue or heavy sweating—these could be signs of heat exhaustion. Find out more:

Exploring urban streets? Keep your head up and cell phone down. And avoid using headphones or ear buds, especially when crossing streets and navigating traffic. When walking at night, wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight.

Foraging for wildflowers? Walk in the center of the trail. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass. Always use bug repellent and do a daily full-body check on yourself, kids and pets for ticks, the tiny culprit behind the skyrocketing rates of Lyme disease.

Reserve the flip-flops for the beach. Lacking good arch support, they could cause a bad tumble when walking on uneven trails, for instance. If worn while driving, flip-flops can easily slip off and get caught under the pedal.

Keep your legs under the beach umbrella too! Good ways to guard against getting a nasty sunburn and protecting yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun include staying in the shade, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and using sunblock. Just don’t forget to protect the lower part of your body too, as well as more obvious areas like your face, lips, neck and chest.

Life jackets are bulky, but a boating must! More than 85 percent of drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. Also, skip the alcohol until you’re off the water. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Learn more:

Be cautious about sparklers. Take precautions if you’re setting off or standing near firecrackers, and avoid giving sparklers to kids unsupervised. Reportedly, sparklers are responsible for as many ER visits as firecrackers!

Not feeling like going outdoors no matter what the season? Remember, sunshine can be a natural mood lifter, but if you’re feeling low, talk to your health practitioner or a qualified counselor.