Sum­mer 101: How to stay safe in the sun

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - IRENE MA­HER

Whether it’s pic­nick­ing in a city park or trav­el­ling to a bucket list des­ti­na­tion, sum­mer calls us to do some­thing fun. What­ever it may be, check out our Sum­mer Sur­vival Guide first.

We hope th­ese tips will en­sure your di­ver­sions end safely at home, and not in the emer­gency room.

Out­door food safety

•Pack raw, cooked and ready-to-eat foods in sep­a­rate con­tain­ers and cool­ers.

•Trans­port per­ish­ables in the coolest part of the car, not the trunk. The front pas­sen­ger seat is best, ac­cord­ing to the Acad­emy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics.

•Use clean cut­ting boards, plat­ters, tongs, knives and other tools for han­dling cooked foods. Bring ex­tra clean tongs and “burger flip­pers.”

•Bring an in­stant-read ther­mome­ter and use it, es­pe­cially if chicken is on the menu. Cook chicken, hot­dogs and sausages to 165 de­grees; burg­ers to 160 de­grees; pork, fish and steaks to 145. In gen­eral, cook meats un­til juices are no longer pink.

•Don’t let per­ish­ables sit out for more than two hours, or one hour if the out­side tem­per­a­ture is 90 de­grees Fahren­heit (32 Cel­sius) or above. Re­frig­er­ate per­ish­ables be­low 40 F(4 C).

Al­co­hol

•Don’t drink and drive. Take cabs, use ride ser­vices or a des­ig­nated driver, or plan to stay the night.

•Set a good ex­am­ple for chil­dren and don’t overindulge in al­co­hol (or food). Kids take no­tice and mimic adult be­hav­iours later.

•Know what your body can han­dle. The Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health rec­om­mends that women limit al­co­hol to one drink per day, men to two drinks per day. Cer­tain med­i­ca­tions don’t mix well with al­co­hol; check with your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist. Preg­nant women and those try­ing to be­come preg­nant should never drink.

Also, al­co­hol con­tains lots of empty calo­ries and con­trib­utes to overeat­ing and weight gain.

Hy­dra­tion

•Drink wa­ter in­stead of al­co­hol, cof­fee or tea.

•Also hy­drate with juicy fruits, veg­eta­bles with high wa­ter con­tent and soups.

•If work­ing hard and sweat­ing a lot, opt for sport drinks with elec­trolytes.

•Drink be­fore you feel thirsty.

Bit­ing, sting­ing in­sects

•Use in­sect re­pel­lent con­tain­ing DEET, pi­caridin, lemon eu­ca­lyp­tus, para-meth­ane-diol or IR3535, the NIH rec­om­mends. How­ever, do not use DEET on chil­dren younger than 2 months. Wash re­pel­lent off chil­dren when they come in­doors.

•Avoid us­ing per­fumes and scented soaps, de­odor­ant and hair prod­ucts.

•Don’t wear bright colours or flow­ered prints, which can at­tract sting­ing bugs.

•If stung, re­move stinger quickly by scrap­ing area with a blunt-edge ob­ject such as a credit card or fin­ger­nail. Ap­ply ice to re­duce swelling.

•For those with se­vere in­sect and food al­ler­gies, carry an up-to-date auto-in­jec­tor ep­i­neph­rine pen.

•Pro­tect your­self from ticks by cov­er­ing ex­posed skin, tuck­ing pants into socks and wear­ing a hat in the woods, bushes and high grass. Check your­self, chil­dren and pets for ticks af­ter vis­it­ing wooded ar­eas. And shower af­ter­ward, us­ing a wash­cloth to re­move un­at­tached ticks, which may crawl on your skin for hours be­fore at­tach­ing.

•To pre­vent breed­ing mos­qui­toes, check your prop­erty ev­ery day and dump stand­ing wa­ter.

Avoid­ing heat ill­ness

•When out­side dur­ing the day, al­ways seek shade. When shade is not avail­able, limit out­door ac­tiv­ity dur­ing high heat and hu­mid­ity to no more than 15 or 20 min­utes at a time.

•Wear light­weight, light-coloured cloth­ing; re­place sweat-soaked cloth­ing.

•Drink cool wa­ter or sports drinks ev­ery 20 min­utes.

•Re­mem­ber the kids; chil­dren die in hot cars ev­ery year. Check the back seat be­fore you exit a car to make sure all chil­dren are out. Place per­sonal items like a cell­phone, purse or back­pack in the back seat as a re­minder to check. Rec­og­niz­ing heat ill­ness signs •Heat cramps: mus­cle, leg pain, spasms, cramp­ing. Stop what you’re do­ing, move to a cool place, drink wa­ter or sports drinks and get med­i­cal at­ten­tion if symp­toms last more than an hour or if you have heart prob­lems or are on a low-sodium diet.

•Heat ex­haus­tion: heavy sweat­ing; cold, clammy skin; nau­sea; vom­it­ing; mus­cle cramps; dizzi­ness; headache. Move to a cool place, ap­ply cool cloths or wa­ter to the body, sip wa­ter. Get med­i­cal at­ten­tion if vom­it­ing, symp­toms worsen or if they last more than an hour.

•Heat­stroke: This is a med­i­cal emer­gency. Symp­toms are red, hot, dry or damp skin; rapid pulse; headache; con­fu­sion; dizzi­ness; nau­sea; faint­ing. Call 911 im­me­di­ately. Move your­self or the af­fected per­son to a cool place, ap­ply cool wa­ter or cloths to the skin. Do not give any­thing to drink un­less directed by 911.

Sun pro­tec­tion

•Keep ba­bies un­der 6 months old out of the sun.

•All oth­ers should avoid sun ex­po­sure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•If you go out, wear a hat with a 3-inch brim and sun­glasses with UVA and UVB pro­tec­tion.

•Use sun­screen with an SPF of 15 or higher that pro­tects against UVA and UVB rays. Gen­er­ously ap­ply ev­ery two hours and af­ter swim­ming or sweat­ing.

Se­vere weather

•Check weather con­di­tions pe­ri­od­i­cally when spend­ing time out­doors.

•If storms ap­proach or light­ning is in the area, go to a build­ing, cov­ered shel­ter or ve­hi­cle.

•Don’t drive through or al­low chil­dren to play in flooded ar­eas.

Med­i­ca­tions

•Don’t leave med­i­ca­tions in a hot car; check la­bels for tem­per­a­ture lim­its. Store them dur­ing road trips in zip-top bags, in a cooler with ice packs.

•Stay on sched­ule even while on va­ca­tion by set­ting re­minders in your phone.

•When trav­el­ling in­ter­na­tion­ally, carry a copy of all pre­scrip­tions, es­pe­cially if you take con­trolled sub­stances like pain med­i­ca­tions. Bring spare eye­glasses, con­tact lenses and clean­ing sup­plies. Carry enough med­i­ca­tion for sev­eral ex­tra days in case there are travel de­lays.

Safety on wheels

•For bike rid­ing, the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pe­di­atrics ad­vises kids and adults to wear a prop­erly fit­ting hel­met, no mat­ter how short the ride, and white or re­flec­tive cloth­ing. At­tach sev­eral re­flec­tors and flash­ing lights to bikes for evening and night­time rides. Don’t al­low young chil­dren to ride af­ter dark.

•Those on skates, skate­boards and scoot­ers should wear hel­mets and pads for wrists, el­bows and knees. Su­per­vise chil­dren age 8 and younger at all times.

•For all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles, the AAP says that if chil­dren are too young to have a driver’s li­cence, they are too young to op­er­ate or ride on off-road ve­hi­cles. Adults should wear hel­mets rated for mo­tor­cy­cles.

Wa­ter safety

•When chil­dren are in the pool or at the beach, make sure a sober, undis­tracted adult has eyes on the wa­ter at all times, even if a life­guard is present.

•When chil­dren visit, make sure pool fence gates lock prop­erly. In­stall a pool alarm to pro­tect very young chil­dren and make sure you have up­dated anti-en­trap­ment drain cov­ers in your pool or spa.

•Young chil­dren and those who can’t swim should wear a life vest when in or around the wa­ter. Re­al­ize that in­flat­able “float­ies” are not sub­sti­tutes for ap­proved life vests.

Open wa­ter recre­ation

•Never swim alone. Never dive into wa­ter of un­known depth or be­fore check­ing for un­der­wa­ter ob­jects such as large rocks or trees. •Keep chil­dren out of fast-mov­ing wa­ter. •At the beach, be aware of warn­ings for rip cur­rents.

•In rocky rivers and streams, wear a life vest and hel­met.

Boat­ing safety

•Wear a prop­erly fit­ting life-jacket when on boats, docks or around wa­ter, in­clud­ing adults to set a good ex­am­ple.

•Boat­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and drugs is il­le­gal.

GETTY IM­AGES/IS­TOCK­PHOTO

You’ve heard it be­fore, but it is a key sum­mer safety tip: Stay hy­drated.

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