by Brent Hearn •
There’s a serious malady that affects one in something-or-other Americans this time of year. Far too many of us are plagued by sudden, powerful cravings for slushy, sugary beverages. There’s an increased olfactory sensitivity to chlorine, with some able to detect a swimming pool from miles away. And perhaps worst of all, seeing others’ beach pics as we scroll through social media sends our FOMO-mone levels spiking. (Definitely a real hormone. No need to Google it, folks; just take our word for it.) These symptoms can only mean one thing: Summertime is here.
Most schools have been out for weeks, vacations are in full swing or being prepared for, and tiny humans are practicing their cannonballs on your queen-sized bed. Though summertime can be a time to let loose and live a little, it also comes with its share of downsides.
Last year, we shared an article with a few summertime safety tips—aptly titled Summertime Safety Tips—and now we’re back with more. Follow these tips, and hopefully the biggest curveball summer throws your way is the occasional brain freeze from the aforementioned slushy beverages.
For many, fun in the sun means time in the water. While we hate to be a wet beach blanket, it’s important to remember that, unfortunately, one of the best things about summer can also be among the most dangerous if not shown the proper respect.
Whether at the pool, the beach, or out on the river, water recreation can go from enjoyable to tragic in seconds, particularly if the proper precautions aren’t taken. (Need a sobering statistic? Drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages one to four.)
Here are a few tips on keeping yourself and others safe in and around the water. For more detailed and comprehensive information on water safety, we strongly encourage you to read Water Safety from the American Red Cross and Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning from the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).
- Understand and implement the “five layers of protection.”
These include barriers and alarms, supervision, water competency, life jackets, and emergency preparation. Learn more here.
- Know the signs of someone in trouble.
If someone is vertical in the water but is unable to move or tread water, or if they’re motionless and facedown in the water, they need immediate help. Remember: A person drowning usually cannot ask for help.
- Know how to help—and how not to—in an emergency.
Remember the phrase “reach or throw, don’t go.” Try to reach out an arm or an item to the person struggling if they’re close enough. If they’re not, throw them an object that floats. Those in trouble in the water can get panicky and unwittingly push their would-be rescuer underwater; all too often, even strong swimmers drown when attempting to help. (That’s why you’ll see even experienced lifeguards with a flotation device in hand.)
Insect Bites and Stings
For most people, the majority of insect bites and stings are not life threatening (though they can be painful and itchy, which can really throw a wrench in your day). If someone in your family is allergic, however, it’s important to keep an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, etc.) on hand at all times.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from bites and stings is prevention. Educate kids on what fire ant beds look like so they know to stay far away. Avoid strong-smelling fragrances and soaps so as not to attract any unwanted visitors.
If you’re spending time outside, it’s a good idea to keep insect repellent and some over-the-counter meds for bites and stings in your first aid kit. (You do have a first aid kit, don’t you?) According to Pharmacy Today, treatment options for bites and stings include local anesthetics, topical antihistamines, counterirritants, hydrocortisone, and protective agents. Learn more about how to treat stings and bites here.
Remember: a safe summer is a fun summer—and we want you to have all the fun you can stand! (Just breathe, parents…school will be back in session before you know it.)
National Drowning Prevention Alliance: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning
American Red Cross: Water Safety
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Reach, Throw, Row, Don’t Go!
Pharmacy Today: Be prepared for insect bites and stings