June 23, 2022
Summer is short on the Seacoast, and many people try to cram as much summer fun as possible into these three months. But along with summer fun come summer accidents, mishaps and illness.
Summer Safety Tips
Water Safety: No matter where you’re swimming – pool, lake or the ocean – water safety is important for all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second highest leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Adults need to be careful too, especially when alcohol is involved. One slip and fall into a pool while intoxicated can be devastating. And if you’re at one of our beaches, watch for changes to the flag color to represent rip tides or otherwise dangerous conditions. Lifeguards are on duty at New Hampshire State Park beaches during the summer (hours vary by location), but it’s up to you to pay attention. If the flag is red, stay out of the water.
- Don’t leave children unsupervised around water
- It only takes 60 seconds to drown.
- According to the CDC, there are 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings each year, an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.
Sun safety: Apply, reapply and reapply again. Tans may look healthy, and summer is so short in New England that we want to soak up as much sun as possible, but sun damage can not only cause premature aging, it can cause skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be nearly 100,000 new cases of melanoma this year. But don’t just apply sunscreen when you’re at the beach – any time you’re outside, mowing the lawn, planting flowers, playing a game of tennis, baseball or corn hole. If you’re outside, protect your skin. It’s the only skin you’ve got.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion: Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are different things, but are often thought to be synonymous. According to the CDC, heat stroke is the most serious and occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. As the body temperature quickly rises, the perspiration mechanism fails and our body is unable to cool down. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Symptoms of heat stroke include: Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech; loss of consciousness (coma); hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; seizures; very high body temperature.
Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, according to the CDC, usually through excessive sweating. Those at the highest risk are the elderly, those with high blood pressure and those working in a hot environment. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: Headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; irritability; thirst; heavy sweating; elevated body temperature; decreased urine output.
Fire pit safety: Toasting marshmallows for s’mores and sitting around the campfire with your friends and family is one of summer’s best pleasures. But keep children and intoxicated individuals away from the fire, and no one should sit too close to a fire. Be sure to extinguish your campfire completely before leaving the area.
Fireworks safety: Did you know that sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,800 to 3,000 degrees? Don’t let small children play with them, and keep both children and adults away from fireworks. Sit back, relax and leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.
Check on your neighbors: It’s also important to remember during the warmer months to check on our elderly family members and neighbors, especially when temperatures really soar. The elderly may not be aware of their rising body temperature which can put them at risk for heat stroke, which can be fatal. Some signs to look for in older adults:
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Infrequent urination