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Healthy Living

Summer Safety

by DJulie

Itís the middle of summer, and here are some tips to stay safe during the warmer months:

  • Protect your skin from excessive exposure to sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and use a sun screen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15.

  • Protect your eyes. Sunglasses are like sun screen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.

  • Take some breaks from the sun. Every hour or so cool off by sitting in some shade or going for a swim. Donít forget to re-apply sunscreen after swimming or every couple hours.

  • Remember to drink lots of water. Sitting in the sun can be dehydrating Ė donít forget to replenish that fluid!

  • Take first aid class and know how to administer it. If you are a first-time learner or need a refresher first aid class, call your local American Red Cross for the latest information on your communities' class schedules. You never know when you will need it and it could save a life!

Know the "Heat-related Illnesses" and what to do:

Heat Cramps:

These are muscle pains and spasms caused by heavy exertion, which triggers loss of water through heavy perspiration. To relieve the cramps, press on cramping muscles or use gentle massage. Take sips of water unless nausea occurs.

Heat Exhaustion:

A mild form of shock marked by heavy sweating, weakness, cold and clammy skin, a weak pulse, fainting and vomiting. Immediately move to a cool place. Loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths; continue taking sips of water unless nausea occurs. If vomiting occurs, seek medical attention. NOTE: brief exposure to extreme heat can precipitate this condition in very young children and the elderly.

Heat Stroke (Sunstroke):

Heat stroke is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention! This occurs when your body's ability to sweat has stopped, and your body temperature rises so high that it may cause brain damage and/or death in less than 10 minutes, unless medical help is immediate. Symptoms include: hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. If you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or another person, call immediately for emergency medical services. While waiting for emergency personnel, take the following steps to care for the individual:

  1. Move the individual to a cool environment.

  2. Remove the person's clothing.

  3. Cool the person in a tub of cold water, cover the person with a wet sheet and turn a fan or air conditioning on high, or sponge the person with cool water in an attempt to lower the body temperature.

  4. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels.

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