July Summer Safety

Summertime consists of cook-outs, pool parties and hanging out on the lake. Oklahoma summers can hit triple digits. Alexander Health Clinic wants you to know all of the precautions and tips to stay safe this summer.

Firework safety

Statistics worth noting

  • Fireworks start 18,500 fires per year.
  • In 2017, 12,900 people were treated in emergency departments for firework-related injuries.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Stay sober while using fireworks.
  • Be careful with sparklers, they can get up to 2,000 degrees.

Heat and sun safety

Dress for the heat

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover as much of the skin as possible.
  • Lightweight, light-colored clothes reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain body temps.
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself.
  • Use sunscreen with a high SPF.

Drink for the heat

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • The rate your body absorbs fluids is less than the rate it loses it through perspiration.

Avoid alcohol in the heat

  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages with caffeine, they can add to dehydration.

Eat for the heat

  • Eat small meals more often.
  • Avoid meals with high protein, they can increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid added salt.

Living in the heat

  • Reduce physical activities until the temperatures cool down.
  • Best times for activities are early morning and late evening.
  • Take cool baths and use cool wet towels to help lower body temperature.

Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion

  • Cool, moist skin with goosebumps in the heat
  • Heavy sweating to no sweating at all
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If you think you are experiencing heat exhaustion

  • Stop all activity and rest.
  • Move to a cooler place.
  • Drink room temp water.

Water safety

Whether you are floating the river, skiing on the lake or just swimming

  • Wear a life jacket while skiing, tubing, on a personal watercraft, and always have one readily available for everyone.
  • Wear life jackets when on a river or lake where two rivers converge: the current can sweep you away and the water is typically murky, making it difficult to find you.
  • Swim in designated areas.
  • Be cautious of sudden drop-offs.
  • Don’t overload the boat, many people have drowned from falling overboard.
  • Always check river or stream conditions, as well as beach advisories.
  • Stay sober!

Ultraviolet safety and protection

UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer in the United States and can also cause eye damage, not to mention overall skin damage, leading to leathery, thick, wrinkled skin. It only takes 15 minutes in the sun to cause damage.

Those at highest risk are: those with blond, red, or light brown hair; those with freckles, those with light-colored eyes. It is also important to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications, as some are shown to increase sensitivity to UV rays.

SLIP, SLOP, SLAP and WRAP

SLIP on a shirt

SLOP on sunscreen

SLAP on a hat

WRAP on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them

Shade

Reduce skin cancer risk by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelters BEFORE you need relief from the sun. It is also best to reduce your time outside, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Clothing

Long-sleeved shirts, pants and long skirts provide the most protection, as they cover everything. The tighter the weave the more protection the clothing can offer. Also, darker, dry clothes can provide more protection, as opposed to a wet, light-colored shirt.

Hat

Wearing a hat with a brim all around, especially if it has a tight weave can protect your face, ears and back of neck. If you wear a baseball hat, be sure to cover your ears, neck, and anything else not covered by the hat, with sunscreen.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the UV rays and reduce your risk of cataracts. The preferred sunglasses offer UVA and UVB protection. Most sunglasses sold in the U.S. meet this standard.

Sunscreen

If you are outside for long periods, swimming or sweating, you will need to be sure to dry off your skin and reapply at least every two hours. Some makeup offers this protection, but double-check and be sure to use sunscreen along with the makeup, if it does not already offer SPF protection.

Choose the right sunscreen

  • Use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen. These sunscreens will protect against UVA and UVB rays, which are related to cancers and skin aging.
  • Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen, particularly when swimming or doing activities involving sweating. Sunscreens are not waterproof and need to be reapplied. Look the label to see how long it will last.