Watch for these 5 Seasonal Hazards
For most South Georgia locals, summertime equals relaxation and an easier way of life. Yet the four seasons of the year all come with their own potential dangers. Look out for these five common summertime hazards, and keep your family informed and safe so nothing interrupts the seasonal festivities.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
In those balmy summer months, keep an eye out for dehydration and heatstroke after long periods of time outdoors, especially for young children and the elderly. Symptoms of mild dehydration might include light-headedness, headache and a cottony feeling in the mouth. In case of dehydration, retire indoors and sip fluids. In case of heat stroke — symptoms include passing out, vomiting and ceasing to sweat — have the person lie down and cool them off with water and ice packs. If necessary, call 911.
Water and Boating Accidents
Accidents in and surrounding the water are far more common in the summer. Be prepared by avoiding alcoholic beverages during water activities, knowing basic life-saving strategies such as CPR, and having plenty of life jackets on hand for adults and children. Check for other boating safety equipment, such as lights, fire extinguishers and whistles, prior to vessel departure.
Picnics and cookouts are certainly part of the seasonal fun. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget that perishable foods can cause digestive illness if they aren’t kept cool. Follow these guidelines from the FDA for your next backyard meal:
Clean — Wash your hands, as well as the surfaces where you’ll be preparing food.
Separate — Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other food items.
Cook — Bring along a meat thermometer. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and pork to 160 degrees, and poultry to 165 degrees.
Chill — Keep everything refrigerated as long as possible. Store perishable picnic items in an insulated cooler packed with ice, and follow the “last in, first out” rule — whatever you’re planning to eat first should go at the top of the cooler.
Animal Bites and Stings
Experts advise avoiding floral or sweet fragrances and opting for light-colored clothing (patterns can attract animals) to avoid stings and bites. Yes, you can use an antihistamine for a mild allergic reaction in the event of stings and other mishaps. However, go to the ER if you notice hives, itchiness, and swelling; tightness in the chest or trouble breathing; swelling in the tongue and face; dizziness or passing out. An epi pen can “buy time” in the case of a severe reaction, but it’s still important to visit the ER, since the reaction can outlast the pen’s effectiveness, according to WebMD.
For the ultimate in firework safety, let the experts handle the show this summer. However, if you insist on your own show, be certain to have a hose or a fire extinguisher handy and advise children to steer clear. And remember that alcoholic beverages and fireworks don’t mix well.
Written by: Denise K. James