Essential summer safety tips

As we settle into summer, it's time to enjoy the sunshine, dip into refreshing waters, and take in dazzling fireworks displays. However, amidst the excitement, it's important to prioritize safety to ensure these summer activities remain enjoyable for everyone. Let's explore some essential seasonal safety tips.

Water safety:

Nothing beats taking a cool plunge during the hot summer months. The below tips will help keep you and others safe while enjoying a day around or in the water:

  1. Swim with caution: Whether you're diving into a pool, lake, or ocean, always swim with caution. Never swim alone; keep a close eye on inexperienced swimmers, especially children.
  2. Know your limits: Stay within designated swimming areas and only venture into waters that match your swimming abilities. Strong currents, rip tides, and underwater hazards can pose risks for swimmers.
  3. Use safety equipment: Life jackets, floatation devices, and other safety gear should be worn, especially by inexperienced swimmers, when boating, swimming, or engaging in other water activities. Ensure they fit properly and are worn whenever necessary.
  4. Stay hydrated: Even when enjoying a swim or boogie board session, it's important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially on hot days.
  5. Be sun smart: The sun's rays can be intense (more on that below), even when you're in the water. Apply waterproof sunscreen regularly, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and seek shade during peak sun hours to avoid sunburn and heatstroke.

Sun safety:

It’s no coincidence that UV Safety Month occurs in July. The hot summer sun plays a role in countless injuries and illnesses every year. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and an estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Below are some ways to protect yourself from UV damage and heat-related related illnesses.

  1. Wear sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Don't forget to cover easily overlooked areas like your ears, lips, hands, and the tops of your feet.
  2. Seek shade: Limit your time in direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are strongest. Seek shade under umbrellas, trees, or canopies to reduce your risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses.
  3. Stay cool: Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing, and remember to drink plenty of water. Be sure to wear shoes or sandals on hot pavement and sand. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  4. Protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays to protect your eyes from sun damage. UV exposure can cause cataracts, eye cancer, and even sunburned eyes.
  5. Check for signs of heat illness: Watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and confusion. If you or someone else shows signs of heat-related illness, seek medical attention immediately.

Fireworks safety:

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were reported in 2022. What’s concerning about this statistic is that 70% of those injuries happened in the summer. Check out these guidelines for enjoying fireworks responsibly:

  1. Leave it to the pros: Enjoy fireworks displays hosted by trained professionals rather than attempting to set off fireworks yourself. Professional shows are safer and more spectacular.
  2. Follow local laws: Familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding fireworks, including permitted types, times, and locations for use. Abide by these rules to prevent accidents and fines.
  3. Keep a safe distance: If you do use fireworks, maintain a safe distance from buildings, vehicles, and spectators. Follow instructions carefully, and never aim fireworks at people, animals, or flammable objects.
  4. Supervise children: Keep children and pets away from fireworks, and never allow them to handle or ignite fireworks. Sparklers, often thought of as harmless, can reach temperatures high enough to cause severe burns.
  5. Have safety measures in place: Keep a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies. After the fireworks display, douse used fireworks with water before disposing of them to prevent accidental fires.

This season, prioritize safety while enjoying time with family and friends. You can ensure that your adventures are fun and worry-free, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to stay safe this summer.

For additional resources, check out Mass General Brigham’s Summer Health and Safety Tips.

Stay connected with Mass General Brigham Health Plan by following @MGBHealthPlan on InstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook.

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