The weather is nice, kids are out of school, and well-deserved vacations grow near. There are plenty of reasons to look forward to summer each year, but it’s important you take steps to stay safe, even while the sun is shining.

Truthfully, there are many dangers you face each summer that are easily avoidable.

What Are the Biggest Hazards?

By far, the most common summer dangers are environmental. The weather may be a big reason we love the summer, but it can also be the season’s most treacherous aspect.

Long exposures to extreme heat can lead to hyperthermia, dehydration, or heatstroke.

Staying out in the sun for too long can result in short- and long-term skin damage. Long exposures to extreme heat can lead to hyperthermia, dehydration, or heatstroke. In addition, summer storms can create hazardous conditions, damage property, and cause you injury.

Another summer health threat comes from bugs. The more time you spend outside, the more likely you are to encounter pests that can carry deadly diseases, like mosquitos or ticks.

How Can I Stay Safe?

There are a few basic things you can do to remain free from harm over the few weeks.

When the Sunshine and Heat Aren’t So Great

For both the heat and sun, you’ll want to limit your exposure. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. Outside of that range is the best time to be outdoors.

While you’re outside, take time to relax in a good source of shade and use sunscreen. These actions will limit your exposure to high temperatures and UV rays. (The dangers of not using sunscreen are well-established. Don’t forget to reapply your sunblock roughly every 2 hours to maximize your coverage.)

Aim to drink between 11 and 16 cups of water and take a cold shower to beat the heat.

Beyond that, beating the heat can be as simple as staying hydrated. Aim to drink between 11 and 16 cups of water each day. You can also take a cold shower to lower your body temperature and refresh you after a hot afternoon.

Getting overheated is no joke. Learn the signs of heat-related illnesses so you can get help if needed.

From Mosquitos, Ticks, and Other Bitey Bugs

Not only are bugs a nuisance, but their bites can itch and make you sick.

While you’re gardening or hiking, use bug spray to fend them off. Once you’re done outdoors, inspect your entire body, especially anywhere covered with hair (like your head or under your arms), for ticks or other creepy-crawlies. Have a loved one look at your back or anywhere you can’t check yourself. Examine your clothes for any unwanted stowaways as well.

Taking a shower shortly after coming inside can wash any unattached ticks off your body. If one has latched onto your skin, go with the traditional way of removing a tick. Use a pair of tweezers to detach it at the head, then carefully clean the affected area.

For protection from bugs, don’t bother with citronella candles. They aren’t as effective as you’d think.

Relaxing on your patio with a glass of red wine is a great way to shed the stress of the day; however, the evening is when bugs tend to be the most active. For protection, don’t bother with citronella candles. Recent research has shown them to be ineffective against mosquitos in open areas. There are other insect repellants for you to try when you want to mellow out at night.

From Severe Storms and Bad Weather

Thunderstorms are most common from May to August. The best way to keep safe from a storm is to pay attention to the forecast and prepare in advance.

Check your favorite weather websites or phone apps regularly to know when a strong storm is on its way. If the National Weather Service issues any warnings, follow their direction. Lastly, develop and follow your own safety plan for any extreme weather. For example, do you know what to do if the electricity goes out? If you have any medical equipment that requires power, losing electricity could be devastating. Having a solution to this potential problem is essential.

Once the storm hits, remain inside! Going outside will only put your life at risk. Avoid driving at all costs. Even if you’re a great driver, other people on the road may not be. If you must go out, travel carefully. Drive slowly and attentively.

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Summer is fun; after all, it’s the most popular season for vacations for a reason. Just don’t forget to take the necessary precautions so you can keep enjoying it. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay safe!

Further Reading

Huffington Post — You’re Putting On Your Bug Spray All Wrong
Medicareful Living — 5 Great Vacations for Seniors
Medicareful Living — When to Visit a Dermatologist