With summer’s incredible array of foods, activities, and fun, you’ll probably be out and about more. You don’t have to worry about icy roads, but there are plenty of other potential mishaps that are summer related. Here’s how to protect yourself from a few preventable warm-weather hazards.

1.Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated either at work or at the beach. Even being slightly dehydrated can make you feel sluggish. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and just keep sipping on it.

Notice if you or anyone you are with begins to feel overheated at any time. Get to a cooler spot and sip on fluids. Heatstroke can come on quickly and is dangerous. If you’ll be at an outdoor event, carry some frozen wet washcloths in your cooler. Instant cold packs (the kind for sports injuries) do well in a pinch, too.

2. Watch the Weather

Keep your eye on the weather—especially if you live in areas prone to severe events or storms. Summer brings some pretty wild weather and you want to be prepared.

3. Be Cautious Around Water

It can’t be said enough, be alert when you are around water. Don’t swim alone, and if you’re at the beach, pool, or lake with kids, designate someone to keep an eye on them at all times. You can’t assume each parent is going to be watching and kids get into trouble quickly in the water.

Be careful with adults, too –pay attention to red flags indicating rough water or even shark sightings. And if anyone has been drinking, remember their judgment and their reactions could be impaired enough to cause problems while swimming.

4. Make Food Safety a Priority

Summer barbeques are often the highlight of these warm months. But the heat can spoil food quickly and the resulting illness is pretty awful. If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all the food is cold. Keep anything that can spoil quickly (meats, anything mayonnaise based, dairy products) refrigerated until you need them.

When you put food out, keep it out of direct sun –you can even put your bowls of potato salad on ice to keep things cooler. When you attend an event, pay attention to how the food is taken care of. Don’t eat anything you suspect has been out too long.

5. Keep Insects at Bay

Watch for all the critters that can cause you misery over the summer. Mosquitoes, ticks, ants, bees, jellyfish—no matter what gets you, it can hurt and cause lasting ill-effects.

Protect yourself so you can be outside and not get waylaid by bugs and critters. Wear long pants and long sleeves when possible and when it’s too hot for that, wear bug repellant and reapply it every couple of hours. Keep sugary drinks covered (bees have been known to sneak into soda cans) and scan picnic sites for ant holes or mounds. Make sure you know if the water you’re in has jellyfish or any biting fish.

6. Don’t Forget Your Car

Keeping your car prepared for summer is just as important as keeping it ready for cold conditions. Make sure your tires are inflated correctly, your oil is changed, and you have plenty of coolant. And if you’re in the habit of running on fumes, keep an eye on your gas tank. One hours-long traffic jam to a concert or on the way home from the beach could leave you stranded on the side of the road and miserable. Be smart and prepare yourself.

7. Use Sunscreen

You know the drill. Use sunscreen every day and reapply it often. Use enough lotion to fill a shot glass and put that on every two hours. If you use a sunscreen spray, spray enough on so you can rub it in to cover all the areas. This can’t be said often enough, but lots of people just don’t bother. In the long run, sunscreen can prevent skin cancer, but it also helps you avoid the immediate misery of a painful sunburn.

Here’s to a healthy and safe summer!

 

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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