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Summertime Health and Safety

Summertime Health and Safety

By Catherine Carter, FNP
Urgent Care at Stansbury Springs

After being cooped up all winter it’s nice to start spending time outdoors. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we head outside:

BE MOSQUITO SAVVY: Mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile, Zika, and other viruses that can cause serious illness. Mosquito bites can be prevented by following some simple steps:

  • Wear insect repellent when outdoors:
    • Read and follow product labels on how to best apply and how often to reapply, especially for children.
    • Avoid use of insect repellant on children less than 2 months of age, also certain chemicals should not be used by children under age 3.
    • Spray repellant onto your hands then apply to a child’s face, do not directly spray their face.
  • Wear clothing that covers the arms and legs.
  • Be aware that mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and evening.
  • Ensure screens are in good repair.
  • Ensure you do not have areas of standing water around your home which can be used by mosquitoes to lay eggs.

BE A SUN SAFETY ENFORCER: Exposure to the sun’s rays feels great, but exposure can lead to skin damage and cancer.

  • Ensure the sunscreen you choose has a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 rating or higher and has coverage for both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours, or after swimming, or sweating even on a cloudy day.
  • Check the sunscreen’s expiration; sunscreen with no expiration date has a shelf life of 3 years or shorter if it has been in the hot temperatures.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the face, ears, head and neck.
  • Eyes need protection from the UV rays as well to reduce the risk of cataracts; ensure they protect from UVA and UVB.
  • Avoid sun exposure during the midday hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.

BE HEAT SMART:

  • Be aware of the hot temperatures and humidity when planning your daily activities.
  • Ensure everyone has plenty of fluids available to stay hydrated.
  • Humidity plays a factor in the body’s ability to stay cool; in low humidity the body can cool through evaporation of perspiration on the skin, but in high humidity environments evaporation does not occur and the body will not cool that easily.
  • If you are witness to someone you think is overheated, put them in the shade and cool them by offering fluids, applying cool water to the body, fanning them and call for medical attention.

SAFE DRINKING WATER:

  • Best practice prior to travel or heading into the backcountry is to plan ahead and ensure water supply is adequate.
  • Water from creeks and streams may look fresh and clean, but several parasites, bacteria or viruses, that cause illness, could be prominent.
  • Water can be treated by bringing it to a rolling boil for 1 minute (or if above 6,562 feet boil water for 3 minutes). This SHOULD kill the pathogens.
  • If boiling water is not an option then a combination of commercially available filtration and chemical disinfection system may be the best option. Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed.  

For more information on these or other summer safety tips please see https://www.cdc.gov