Summer is here!
And that means longer days, fun in the sun, water activities and evenings around the campfire. Although the majority of people have fond memories of their summers in the sun, each of these activities presents relative risks to be aware of. Here’s some tips to stay safe:
- Stay Protected in the Sun: take your umbrella to the beach and/ or pack lightweight clothing & hats to cover up with once your skin has reached maximum absorption of sun. And while we’re on the topic, pick the right sunscreen! Visit EWG.org1 to browse the list of “safe sunscreens” that will protect you from the sun without driving cancer-causing chemicals into your pores.
- Stay Hydrated: at minimum, a person should attempt to drink ½ their body weight in ounces of water a day, BUT the body’s need for water increases with activity and/or heat. Bump up your intake by 25% more to re-hydrated what you sweated out. For added benefit, and to lessen the chance for Heat Stroke, add electrolytes to your water.
- Wear a Life-Vest: Although this is mandated per the WA DOT, many people are careless with this law citing confidence in their swimming capabilities. “Unintentional drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental deaths in the US.2” Many public boat ramps provide life vests to borrow from adult down to infant.
- Maintain Fire Safety: everyone loves a good campfire, maybe s’mores and some lively stories, but don’t forget to set yourself up for some injury-free enjoyment… “at least 5,300 injuries related to fire pits or outdoor heaters were treated at emergency rooms in the U.S. in 2017.3” Make sure there’s a buffer between the fire pit and grass/ chairs around it, have designated fire attendants, and warn children of the dangers of nearing the fire.
- Repel Critters and Bugs: Most large critters can be avoided simply by staying in groomed campsites or out of “the wild,” but what about those little critters that venture into your space-bubble unknowingly? There’s an essential oil for that! A famous herb, Citronella, has been used traditionally to drive away insects and can be used safely aromatically (in the fire or in a candle) or topically. Another essential oil that is multi-purpose to repel bugs is lavender which can be used topically as treatment for burns.
While you’re enjoying yourself this summer, keep in mind these safety tips, and if you find yourself in over your head with a sunburn, dehydration, a burn or a bite that’s not healing, come see us for care at Camas Center Clinic.