Summer’s almost upon us (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. We provide services globally. But, outside safety is something to consider year round) and being outside is the word of the day. There are so many fun things that go along with the outdoors – swimming, camping, and cookouts just to name a few. Now’s the time we can finally get out with family and enjoy some exercise and fresh air. Kids can put down the electronics (you may have to pry it out of their hands) and discover nature. Unfortunately, with all of the fun outdoor activities, there are some down sides such as sunburns and mosquito bites. We need to be thinking about summer outdoor safety.
We hear over and over to watch our time in the sun, and to be sure to apply sunscreen. But, so many times, people either forget to pack the burn prevention, or think a sunburn just won’t happen to them. But so many of these folks are miserable later, or even sick. There’s no better way to ruin an outing than a bad burn. It doesn’t take long to get to this point, as many have found out.
WebMD has tips for keeping your skin safe. They say:
Watch the clock – The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you can’t stay indoors during that block of time, at least stick to shady spots.
Wear the right clothes – When you have to be outdoors, wear sun-protective clothes, such as a broad-brimmed hat, a long sleeved shirt and pants, (this isn’t practical sometimes, but cover what you can) and UV blocking sunglasses.
Use sunscreen – Cover any exposed areas of skin liberally with at least 1 ounce of broad-spectrum sunscreen. That means sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
Follow these tips for applying sunscreen: Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside. Use sunscreen even on overcast days because UV rays can penetrate clouds. Reapply sunscreen every two hours – or more often if you’re sweating heavily or swimming.
Protection From Insect Bites
Another annoying aspect of being outdoors are pesky insects, specifically mosquitos. We hear of warnings every week about West Nile Virus and Zika Virus, both having mosquitos as the culprit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives us some tips on protecting ourselves from mosquito bites.
Wear insect repellents that contain DEET. Some of the products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF, and Skintastic.
They also remind us to use our air conditioning or make sure to repair and use window/door screens.
In regard to the Zika Virus, since the virus has been linked to birth defects, the CDC also recommends pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika. Recently, the first case of Zika Virus was diagnosed in a U.S. territory – Puerto Rico.
Concerning West Nile Virus, the CDC states that it has been detected in all of the lower 48 states. The same preventatives apply as above (wearing insect repellents that contain DEET, wearing long sleeves, and repairing screens).
They also advise
“emptying standing water around the home from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths”.
Another insect that can be problematic while enjoying the outdoors is the tick. We’ve all heard the reports on Lyme Disease, caused by tick bites. WebMD advises avoiding grassy or wooded areas. Cover head to toe when entering possible tick-infested areas. Again, apply insect repellent containing DEET.
Think About Summer Outdoor Safety
These are a few of the dangers of the great outdoors. If we take the time to think ahead when we are planning an outing, our chances are greatly improved for having a safe, healthy time. There are so many fun things out there to do for relaxing, playing, and enjoying time with family. But think safe and take the necessary precautions.